BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Barbadians still have no confirmation about the nature of the illness that will keep Prime Minister David Thompson out of office for the next two months.
In May, Thompson stated that he was experiencing severe stomach pains. Despite announcing last weekend that he was going overseas to undergo further medical attention, Thompson has declined to specify the nature of his illness.
“Shortly, an evaluation will take place to determine if I need surgery. It may be a complex and serious procedure,” Thompson said at a press conference hours before he left Barbados.
Thompson did not field questions from the media. However, he gave an explanation for his recent weight loss that has prompted speculation about his health.
“During the past few weeks I have undergone observation, tests and medication. My doctors then put me on a rigorous dietary regime which did cause me to lose weight. This was necessary and I know that you all have seen the changes,” he said. “I have not completed my regime of treatment and therefore there is nothing significant to report at this time.”
Thompson admitted that his illness has forced him to operate at a reduced pace for some time and said it would not be fair for him to ask the country to do the same.
“I reckon that it will be a few weeks before I am, God willing, able to discharge my functions in a manner that is required in the circumstances,” he said.
In Thompson’s absence, his deputy and Attorney General, Freundel Stuart, will take his place. Thompson said Stuart had been given “the authority to make whatever decisions he deems necessary to keep the social and economic ship of state on even keel”.
Thompson expressed confidence in Stuart’s ability to lead the affairs of the nation, pointing out the senior government member also had the respect and support of the entire Cabinet and members of the upper and lower houses of Parliament.
Thompson said he and his family are undergoing trying times and asked citizens for their continued support. He thanked them for their prayers and said he had drawn comfort from the fact that Barbados is still a caring and loving community, despite the many diverse differences and interests.
“I eagerly look forward, with the help of the Almighty and your support and prayers, to returning to my post in the near future. In the meantime, please continue to pray for me, my family and our great nation.
“Fate has brought me to this point in my life and I know that God will never take us to a place from which His Almighty power and loving mercies cannot deliver us,” said Thompson.