Current Affairs

Current Affairs




PM fine, says PNP
Observer Reporter
Tuesday, September 24, 2002



THE People's National Party (PNP) yesterday insisted that speculation about the prime minister's health was a red herring being used by political opponents to try and distract attention from the "successful public rally" the ruling party staged Sunday night in the capital.

In addition, PNP officials said that the rumour was basically a panic reaction to the "obvious growing support" for the party among the electorate as the general elections get closer.

Yesterday, talk of Patterson's health dominated a portion of the Perkins On Line radio call-in show on Power 106. According to commentators on the programme, Patterson appeared unwell at the rally at which he announced the general election date

The prime minister, they said, seemed to have been almost overcome by heat at the front of the stage and had to be removed to the back of the stage where there was a fan. An ambulance was also observed at the meeting.

But Maxine Henry-Wilson, the PNP's general-secretary, dismissed the speculation and told the programme's host, journalist Wilmot Perkins, that Patterson was fine.

"The prime minister is in good health," she said.

Henry-Wilson said that she was not in a position to confirm that an ambulance was at the rally. She said, however, that when arrangements were being made for the function it was decided that a first aid centre was necessary because of the possibility of people fainting.

She also explained why the prime minister went to the back of the stage.

"He came early and we were not ready for him so he left the front and went to the back to chat with people. There was a fan on stage and everybody was enjoying it," she said.

According to Henry-Wilson, television lights made the covered stage very hot. "The crowd was tightly packed and people near the front of the stage were begging for water," Henry-Wilson said.

Over the past few years, the prime minister has suffered two fainting spells in Portmore. However, he was given a clean bill of health by his doctors.

Earlier this month, he suffered some discomfort inside a very hot hall at a function at the University of the West Indies Mona campus and had to leave the room for a while.