Sunday, April 14, 2024

EDITORIAL: As blinded by health as by love


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WE?ARE HEARTENED?SOMEWHAT by Press Secretary Natasha King’s official announcement on the weekend that as far as Prime Minister Freundel Stuart’s health is concerned there is “no issue”. But we are flummoxed by what Ms King determines as a collapse, or not.
“He hadn’t had an opportunity to eat since Cabinet broke for lunch, and he got light-headed. He did not collapse,” the Press Secretary said of the Prime Minister.
We are not in pursuit of splitting hairs, but if one becomes light-headed, one is dizzy and faint, and at the point of losing consciousness. This is the stage where one is most likely to slump and fall – to the ground, or in the reflexive arms of colleagues.
There is no shame in being ill, fleetingly or otherwise. We know that Prime Minister Stuart’s responsibilities are demanding, and more so challenging in this economic climate, and understand the stresses he will face. That is why the state of his health and well-being must rise above Ms King’s “damage control” and PR-ing.
There will be many more cases of Mr Stuart working for extended periods without food. It comes with the territory, as they say. And he will have to be up to it.
There have been unconfirmed reports that the Prime Minister may be “mildly diabetic”. Mr Stuart is a brilliant and learned man; methodical in how he thinks, measured in what he says. He must know how to keep a body good, as he does the mind.
We hope for the Prime Minister nothing less than excellent health, and wish to impress here that there must be a regimen in place for regular medical checks of our parliamentary representatives. A sick and bed-ridden MP can do no one any good – including himself or herself.
Some illnesses are not predictable, but many are preventable. Some hard-working MPs often put their own health care on the back burner in pursuit of the ideals of people representation, and must be saved from themselves. Periodic medical check-ups are the answer.
Lying on a sick bed right now is the substantive Minister of Drainage Dr Denis Lowe, whose possible recovery, we are told, could take months. And to date, neither his constituents nor the nation at large has any idea of his progress.
Minute details of his health need not be broadcast, but a general report on whether his state is still critical, or whether he is now stable and looking up – and the kind – is a proper and an appropriate measure in a mature and advanced society such as ours.
Further, such clear and unconvoluted announcements offer no root to rumour-mongering and misinformation.
We need to ensure that our Prime Ministers and our Opposition Leaders, for starters, are afforded scheduled and mandatory health checks – for the good of the nation, and as importantly for the better of their very selves.


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