A handful of Guyanese students who are currently studying in Cuba have told this publication (in an invited comment) that they continue to pray for the full recovery of President David Granger whom they had requested to meet (to wish him well) for several days now, but without success.
While only vague reasons were provided to them as it relates to their denied request to meet the President who is currently in Cuba seeking treatment and remedy for an undisclosed illness, at least two of those students, one of whose relatives works with this publication, has reported that it is their understanding that as a result of whatever treatment the 73-year-old President has received, he is currently a little too weak to walk about without support or assistance.
Ask how credible is that information, the student insisted that with many of the lecturers also serving as specialists at the Centro de Investigaciones Medico Quirugicas (CIMEQ) in Havana, where the President was/ is being treated, – they were able to obtain ‘credible’ information from at least one of the lecturers who had informally told a grouping of about five students that queries with one of his colleagues have established that the President would need as much as two weeks to regain control of his walking and prolong standing.
The student explained that this information was loosely conveyed to them around November 8, some three days before President Granger was originally scheduled to return to Guyana.
As far they were told, this post-treatment development is not permanent, and is often restricted to only a few days, but can be prolonged in some cases, by as much as 6 to 8 weeks.
While this can be considered as grapevine information that might have to be taken with a pinch of salt, at least two political observers were quick to agree that the information is reasonable enough to hold water, considering the delays surrounding the President’s return, and the collapsing explanations that are being provided to the public as it relates to his delayed return.
In their view, while the excuse which denotes that the President is sitting and waiting on his test results for over ten days now, can be unbelievable, it would not be politically strategic or even PR wise for his advisers to allow the Guyanese public to see the President being physically assisted off of a plane at Timehri, or being physically assisted to walk to a major event.
Classing such a move as a potential political disaster, they are adamant that the President would have been politically correct not to return at this time, if he is indeed having difficulty walking as is being claimed.
But outside of their opinion, public reactions have been mixed as it relates to the Cuba medical trip with supporters insisting that the President’s health is his private business. However, many others disagreed, citing the fact that in any part of the world a President is accountable to the electorate, compounded by the fact that a President who is medically absent from his office for a prolonged period of time can impact a number of economic and other important decisions which can, in turn, affect the entire population.
Since making repeated medical trips to Trinidad, and ironically weeks after saying that he has had a clean bill of health, the President had to leave Guyana twice for reasons described as further medical tests. Recently, social media has been rife with rumours that the President is being treated for cancer in Cuba this time around, and is said to be resting at the same Cuban government estate that had housed other cancer-stricken leaders in the past including Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez and Barbados’s Thompson, among others.
In those cases, their respective offices had initially denied that they were cancer-stricken, and had never admitted it until the disease was at its end stage, triggering political infighting immediately thereafter.
And while the side effects for a handful of non-surgical medical procedures and treatments can result in a person being unable to walk or stand unassisted for several days, radiation and other cancer-related treatment remain the most common reason for this.
Despite more than a month of medical testing in Trinidad, which is believed to have the most advanced healthcare system in the Caribbean Community, and weeks of specialist ‘testing’ in Cuba, the President and his office have insisted that he does not know what is the diagnosis or what he is being treated for.
The President had arrived in Cuba on the 30th October for a medical visit and was initially schedule return to Guyana on the 10 November, but the date has been deferred.
Several local media outlets have since reported that a Presidential spokeswoman and the Minister of State has explained that cabinet no longer knows when the President will be returning to Guyana.
The current medical trip to Cuba remains the longest overseas trip that President Granger has ever undertaken since assuming office in 2015, and has now pioneered the longest time spent abroad by a sitting Guyanese President.