An unverified claim that has been dominating social media since last Thursday has suggested that Guyana’s 73-year-old President, David Granger, is stricken with cancer, hence the reason for him travelling to Trinidad initially for a further analysis where a decision was made for him to travel to Cuba for treatment.
So intense is the matter on social media that several international news publications including the Washington Post, have reached out to the Guyana Guardian over the weekend (on Friday and Saturday) seeking on-the-ground clarification as to whether the Guyanese President was indeed being treated for cancer. But clear-cut answers from government circles here were not forthcoming.
Even trends on Google Search since Thursday, showed that searches about President Granger’s health dominated local search queries, followed by thousands of international search queries pertaining to the Guyanese President, which included terms such as ‘President Granger cancer’, and Granger cancer treatment’.
However, when this publication contacted the Office of the President (Ministry of the Presidency), the Department of Public Information (DPI), and sources that are considered close to the President, all of them explained that they had no knowledge as to what the President was being treated for, in Cuba.
They also confirmed that no missive was distributed from any section of the government pertaining to the claim, and was not certain what could have triggered the social media post which insisted that the President was being treated for cancer.
At least one cabinet minister refuse to accept or deny the claim, telling this publication that “I cannot comment on the President’s health or the details of his trip to Cuba at this time”.
Nonetheless, many commentators on social media have stressed that considering the sensitivity of the trending claims, it is imperative that an official statement be made by the President’s office to clarify the matter. But up to now, and for whatever reason, none was forthcoming in that regard.
The aging Guyanese leader had arrived in Cuba on the 30th October and was expected to spend about ten days in the country, with plans to return today (11th November).
It will be the longest period of time that the President has ever spent abroad since assuming office.
In recent t times, the President’s speech has become slurry making it difficult for many of his words to be clearly heard. He has also lost several pounds, and the State has only confirmed that he was “unwell”.
While his true reason for being in Cuba was vaguely stated as “medical”, the fact that every leader in the Caribbean and Latin America who was stricken by cancer had gone to Cuba for treatment which lasted for as much as 8 to 12 days each time, has only added fuel to the social media fire pertaining to the President’s health.
Venezuela’s deceased President Hugo Chavez and Barbados’s late Prime Minister Adrian Thompson are the two last Leaders from within the region that had visited Cuba for cancer treatments.
Their respective offices never admitted that they were being treated for cancer until the illness was at its end stage.