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Gonsalves suffered concussion


Gonsalves suffered concussion
Prime Minister of St Vincent and The Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves leaving the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, accompanied by wife Eloise, August 6, 2021. (GP)

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Kingstown – Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves suffered a concussion when he was struck in the head by an object outside Parliament on Thursday during the protest organised by the main opposition New Democratic Party (NDP) and two trade unions against a move by his government to have frontline workers vaccinated against the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“By the grace of God almighty, I am doing well and on the mend. It is confirmed that there are no neurological deficits. However, I have suffered a concussion and must be monitored over the next four to six weeks. But, it could have been far more serious.

“I take this assault as not just an injury, but, also look to the intent of the throwing of this projectile at me. The intent was to cause grave harm, even death,” he wrote on his Facebook page.

Gonsalves, who flew to Barbados for further medical treatment, suffered the concussion, a type of traumatic brain injury caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or by a hit to the body that causes the head and brain to move rapidly back and forth.

The US Centres for Disease Prevention and Control notes that this sudden movement can cause the brain to bounce around or twist in the skull, creating chemical changes in the brain and sometimes stretching and damaging brain cells.

In a recorded statement posted on social media, Gonsalves said: “It is equally culpable. The person who threw the stone as are those who instigate and continue to instigate disgraceful events that threaten my life and the lives of others.

“There is one person whom I hold responsible, and it is not just the person who did the direct act. We can have our disagreements, but, to cross the line into violence is unacceptable in a democratic society,” he said, adding “by all means, exercise your right to protest, but, that gives you no right to do violence toward anyone”.

“It is the fundamental right of parliamentarians to have access to the parliament in order to discharge their duty. And, it is the right of the people of North Central Windward to have their duly elected representation heard and not denied. I am heartened that Parliament continued their work last night even in my absence.

“I would like to thank the hundreds of people who have send their thoughts and prayers and condemned the senseless violence that occurred. I would also like to thank the police officers who sought to protect the right of the voters of North Central Windward to have their voice represented in Parliament. And, of course, to the doctors both in St Vincent and Barbados in whose good hands saw me through,” Gonsalves said.

Parliament has since approved the amendments to the Public Health Act that allows for the vaccination of public sector employees, considered to be front line workers and removing the word “voluntary” from a section of the law that speaks to vaccination against an illness that has triggered the declaration of a public health emergency — as is the case with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Gonsalves, who turns 75 on Sunday, is expected to return to St Vincent on Saturday, his deputy, Montgomery Daniel, told the state-owned NBC Radio on Friday.

Minister of Local Government, Julian Francis told Parliament during the early hours of Friday that a woman has since been detained by the police and has admitted to injuring the prime minister.

He said that the woman wanted to apologise to Gonsalves.

But her attorney, Kay Bacchus-Baptiste said on radio that the woman had denied the allegation, and that the police had “intimidated” into “admitting” that she had struck the prime minister.

The police have not yet released any details regarding the investigation into the incident.

Meanwhile, the University of the West Indies (UWI) has expressed its “dismay and disappointment” at the incident that resulted in the physical injury to Prime Minister Gonsalves. (CMC)