EDITORIAL – Update us on PM’s recovery
PRIME MINISTER David Thompson returned to Barbados on October 12 from New York, where he had been receiving medical treatment for his pancreatic cancer. His Press Secretary Natasha King was at pains to explain that in spite of what was said, he walked off the plane and into the official car MP 2 and from there was taken to his St Philip home.
Since then we have had no official word on the Prime Minister’s recuperation.
Unfortunately, in the absence of factual information, Barbadians have been consistently bombarded with rumours suggesting Thompson’s health has worsened and that his demise is imminent.
Of course, such malicious and negative reports are nothing new throughout this crisis. Even before the Prime Minister’s personal physician Dr Richard Ishmael revealed that he was suffering from this serious cancer, and through his hospital visits in New York for treatment, vicious and unwarranted rumours were being circulated.
Clearly, in such an environment some public notification system should have been put in place to provide weekly updates on our leader’s condition.
What we envisage is a brief statement on the progress of Thompson’s recovery. Sometimes this statement could even take the form of a short message from the Prime Minister himself.
We do not think it is necessary to see him for this to happen. As he himself indicated, his appearance has been affected largely due to his loss of weight. This is understandable as many cancer patients lose a considerable amount of body weight in the course of their treatment.
This approach would essentially separate fact from fiction about the Prime Minister’s condition and take the obnoxious spin out of the busy rumour mill.
Another important plus for putting this mechanism in place is that it would deepen communication from Thompson with the country on his recovery. This would encourage even greater outpourings of prayer and hope for him.
It has been suggested in several quarters that the public relations handling of the Prime Minister’s illness was not good enough. Insufficient was done to embrace the populace, allay their worse fears, and channel their well-meaning concerns.
Initiatives like an official website could have been established, where Barbadians at home and abroad could express their heartfelt hopes for Thompson.
Instead, this was left to well-wishers who, for the most part, have been doing an excellent job in encouraging the public to rally around the Prime Minister.
These sites and local efforts like the multi-faith services and the NATION’s well-wishers’ cards demonstrate that Barbadians from all walks of life and political persuasions want to get involved in wishing Thompson well. Therefore, better should have been done officially to keep the public informed.
But it is not too late. The Prime Minister’s recovery will take some time, as is the case with most people with cancer. Therefore, a weekly or fortnightly update on his health can be implemented now.
The majority of Barbadians elected David Thompson to be our leader and genuinely care about him as if he was a member of our own family. The least that can be done by his administration is to keep us informed about his recovery.