Monday, November 5, 2012

Delmon Baker Hospitalization

Tobago Development Minister mum on medical procedure at Mt Hope hospital

Dr. Delmon Baker, Minister of Tobago Development
A medical condition of Tobago Development Minister Dr Delmon Baker is being kept top secret.
The Express was told by a source that Baker underwent gastric bypass surgery recently at Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex (EWMSC), Mount Hope, but when contacted to find out if this was true, the Minister was non-commital.
In a brief interview by cellphone last Friday, the Express asked Baker whether he did in fact undergo surgery, to which he responded: "What concern is that to the Express?"
Told that he was a Government Minister and his health would be of public concern, he said: "I don't understand how that concerns the Express."
Pressed further, he said: "I am not confirming or denying anything."
Asked who acted for him when he was hospitalised, Baker said: "The Prime Minister is responsible for that, you should ask her."
Questioned on whether he was fully recovered and in good health now, he said: "I am fine now."
Asked if he was back out to work, he said: "I am working now."
In response to text messages from the Express, Health Minister Dr Fuad Khan also refused to comment on the issue.
Questioned on whether Baker underwent gastric bypass surgery at EWMSC, Khan replied: "No comment."
Asked why there was secrecy with respect to Baker's hospitalisation, when in the past there were constant updates and information on other Government Ministers, including Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar herself when she was hospitalised, Khan repeated: "No comment."
He suggested that the Express seek answers from Baker himself.
Sources have told the Express that Baker did indeed undergo a surgical procedure at the public hospital.
The Express understands that Baker attended last Thursday's Cabinet meeting but even some of his ministerial colleagues were in the dark, telling the Express confidentially that all they knew was that he had "medical issues".
Communications Minister Jamal Mohammed, when contacted yesterday by phone, confirmed that Baker had surgery, but "I can't say exactly what it was."
Asked who was acting for Baker and for how long he was out of office, Mohammed said he could not recall who was the acting Minister, but indicated that Baker was on "just a little over a week" of sick leave.
"I don't think it was anything major...yes, he's cool," said Mohammed when asked if he saw Baker last week and if he was in good health.
This is the first time that the medical condition of a Minister is shrouded in secrecy.
In June 2010, former justice minister Herbert Volney underwent cardiac surgery at EWMSC and day to day updates were given by Government Ministers, including Prime Minister Persad-Bissessar and former health minister Therese Baptiste-Cornelis.
Even when Persad-Bissessar herself fell ill, there was full public information on her ailment, treatment and state of health.
In May this year the Prime Minister fell ill in Barbados and was hospitalised at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital.
Then acting PM Jack Warner called a news conference to provide the nation, through the media, with full information, saying the Prime Minister was resting and undergoing a battery of tests.
In August, Tourism Minister Stephen Cadiz fell ill in Miami and was hospitalised.
There was no secrecy in his ailment as Cadiz's staff and he himself kept the media updated on his condition, which was over-exhaustion.
Even, Khan, during last month's budget debate, advised Parliamentarians to follow Cadiz's example and exercise and lead a healthy lifestyle as he noted that the Minister had lost a lot of weight.
In the past there has also been public information on the medical treatment of former prime ministers Patrick Manning, Basdeo Panday and Arthur NR Robinson.
Baker was promoted to the Minister of Tobago Development in June in the Prime Minister's Cabinet reshuffle.
He was formerly the minister in the Ministry of Finance.
His predecessor, Vernella Alleyne-Toppin, was shifted to the post of Minister in the Ministry of the People.
According to, gastric bypass surgery is a procedure aimed at weight loss.
"Gastric bypass surgery combines the creation of a small stomach pouch to restrict food intake and construction of bypasses of the duodenum and other segments of the small intestine to cause malabsorption (decreased ability to absorb calories and nutrients from food)," stated the website

Reproduced from Express Trinidad.

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