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Tuesday 11 December 2018
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Ministers: No information on Marlene

Caretaker for constituency

GOVERNMENT Ministers Terrence Deyalsingh and Fitzgerald Hinds neither confirmed nor denied a newspaper report which claimed their Cabinet colleague Marlene McDonald has suffered renal failure.

“I have no information on Marlene,” Deyalsingh said, when Newsday contacted him yesterday.

Speaking with reporters after a special sitting of the Caribbean Court of Justice in Port of Spain, Hinds said, “I have very, very limited information other than she is not well, other than the fact that she is hospitalised.”

Asked if he knew what was McDonald’s specific ailment, Hinds replied, “No. I have very limited knowledge.”

Sources close to McDonald were unable to confirm whether or not her condition was related to renal failure. One source said, “That’s what I understand.”

Another said the report “may be accurate.” This source simultaneously expressed uncertainty about the report.

Hinds, however, hinted the People’s National Movement (PNM) may consider whether a caretaker MP may be needed to oversee McDonald’s Port of Spain South constituency.

He said this was done in the case of La Horquetta/Talparo MP Maxie Cuffie. PNM deputy leader Rohan Sinanan has been acting as caretaker MP for that constituency while Cuffie has been recuperating at a hospital in Washington, DC.

“I’m sure that similar arrangements will be made to the extent that it is necessary in the current circumstance,” Hinds said. He explained this was something “we always do, among themselves” in the PNM.

He said the PNM has taken no decision on this issue as yet.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister announced that Minister in the Ministry of Finance Allyson West will act as Public Administration Minister while McDonald recuperates.

Dr Rowley said McDonald remains hospitalised at St Clair Medical Centre, but did not elaborate on her medical condition.

In a radio interview on Tuesday, the PM said McDonald was “seriously ill.”

He insisted Government was not being irresponsible about information pertaining to McDonald’s health.

The PM said steps will be taken to ensure that McDonald has sufficient time to recuperate “during her period of sick leave, whether at home or in an institution.”

A statement issued by the Communications Ministry on July 7 said McDonald was being treated for “an existing medical condition.”

Rowley said, “The Government made statements and the Government stands by the statements we make.”

Government officials said the official position on McDonald’s health is the one stated by the PM and the Communications Ministry.

An unsigned statement claimed McDonald was discharged from St Clair Medical Centre on Tuesday.

According to that statement, she visited the centre last Sunday “with a severe cough and other cold symptoms” but was “resting comfortably at home” and “will return to work after a few days’ sick leave, as recommended by her doctors.”

The statement claimed McDonald suffered a bout of bronchitis in 2013.

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