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Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves returns on crutches

Prime Minister Dr. Gonsalves returns on crutches


Aided by crutches, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves alighted from a Cuban jet to sweet steel pan music and loud cheers by well-wishers at around 2 p.m. last Saturday afternoon at the E.T. Joshua airport.{{more}}

The moving atmosphere reduced him to tears.

The prime minister was returning from Cuba where he and his driver Sergeant Zaccheus Parris had spent a month recuperating from injuries they sustained in an Easter Monday vehicular accident. Dr. Gonsalves also underwent surgery on three deformed toes on his left foot while overseas.

Speaking to media soon after his arrival, Dr Gonsalves made the shocking revelation that had his wife not been tired that Easter Monday, she would have been with him in the vehicle when it crashed and most likely would have been fatally injured.

As Soleil, the prime minister’s younger daughter embraced her mother, Dr Gonsalves said, “If she had been in that accident, if she had come on that journey she would have been sitting in that spot where the greatest impact was, and in all probability she would have been dead.”

The prime minister used the opportunity to encourage Junior Huggins, the driver of the other vehicle involved in the accident, and said that what happened was simply an accident and that he had nothing but love in his heart for Huggins.

He however noted that the public in general needed to exercise more care when driving.

Sargeant Zaccheus Parris (left) is greeted by Transportation and Works Minister Clayton Burgin on his return to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Stating that it was the first time since 1981 that he had been out of the state for a month, Dr Gonsalves said that he thanked God for his blessings and all who prayed for Sergeant Parris and himself.

An emotional Dr Gonsalves was greeted by many government officials, including Deputy Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker. He had high praise for the local medical personnel who cared for him before he went to Cuba on April 13.

The prime minister had glowing reports about the care he received in Cuba, saying that he and Parris were cared for by a total of about 10 medical specialists and similar number of nurses – including President Fidel Castro’s personal physicians.

“Fidel got daily reports on our condition,” he said, adding “At the very highest level they accorded an act of solidarity, friendship and love – which is just extraordinary.”

He said that there were about 53 persons, including security personnel and cooks who were assigned to them in Cuba.

The Prime Minister said that he has been ordered to use the crutches for the next five to six weeks.

Mrs. Gonsalves, along with Dr Gonsalves’ eldest son Camillo accompanied him back home, having gone to Cuba to meet him.

Carrying a few less pounds, Dr. Gonsalves said that he used the opportunity in Cuba to visit Vincentian nurses studying there, hold bilateral meetings with Cuban officials and to do lots of reading and praying.