April 27, 2007
PM changes lifestyle in fight against obesity

Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves’ offensive against obesity has been put on hold since his successful orthopedic surgery in Cuba last Saturday, April 21, to correct a fault with two toes on his left foot.

Dr Gonsalves, who is now walking with the aid of a cane, has had to halt his recently started twice-a-day walking regimen – part of his new resolve to up the offensive in his ongoing battle with overweight.{{more}}

Speaking to the media on his return from Cuba last Monday, Minister of Health Dr Douglas Slater said the prime minister had made the commitment to change his lifestyle, which includes reducing his work hours, changing his diet and making regular exercise a part of his schedule.

Dr Slater said that the prime minister was doing well but would not be able to walk properly for the next three weeks.

Dr Slater reiterated a concern that was raised at a prior news conference by Acting Prime Minister Sir Louis Straker who said that there is concern about Dr Gonsalves’ overall health.

“I am pleased to say that the Prime Minister has really adjusted and has come to the realization that he really needs to take care of himself,” said Dr Slater.

In an interview last November, following the launching of the National Dietary Guidelines, Dr Gonsalves told SEARCHLIGHT that he realized that he needed to change his lifestyle and adopt a healthier lifestyle. “I know I need to lose a few pounds so I will be working on it,” Dr Gonsalves had said.

Now according to Dr Slater, those words have to become reality in Dr Gonsalves’ lifestyle.

Speaking to SEARCHLIGHT on Tuesday from his hospital bed in Cuba, Dr Gonsalves said he was doing fine. He said that several tests were done on him including an MRI and CAT Scan, all to make sure that there were no internal injuries from the accident that may have gone undiagnosed.

The prime minister was expected to have been discharged from hospital yesterday, but will continue his recuperation at Protocol House in Cuba, and is not expected to return to St. Vincent and the Grenadines until early May.

Cuban President Fidel Castro is said to have taken personal interest in the welfare of both Dr Gonsalves and his driver Sergeant Zaccheus Parris, going as far as assigning his personal orthopedic surgeon to have a look at Parris. Further tests done on Sergeant Parris confirmed that he did indeed have a small fracture to a bone in his neck however surgery was deemed unnecessary.

Dr Ralph Gonsalves and his driver Sergeant Parris spent a night at the Milton Cato Memorial hospital here in St. Vincent following an accident on Easter Monday, April 9, when the prime minister’s official SUV was involved in a collision with a truck.

The prime minister left the country the following Friday for Cuba along with Sergeant Parris, his chief security officer Sergeant Benjamin and Minister of Health Dr. Douglas Slater.