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President ill after swearing in PM

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December 21, 2000

After swearing in Basdeo Panday around 6.15 pm yesterday the President said he was feeling "some discomfort and some degree of pain" and it was felt he should see his doctor immediately.

President Arthur NR Robinson was admitted to the Southern Medical Centre, San Fernando, at 6.45 pm yesterday, just over three hours after administering the oath of office to Basdeo Panday as Prime Minister. A source said the President, who turned 74 last Saturday, experienced some bleeding in the urinary tract and underwent minor emergency surgery.

Arnold Corneal, communications specialist at President's House, said, however, the President's condition was "not considered an emergency."

The President was admitted to hospital under the care of Dr Lall Sawh, a urologist, who had previously treated Robinson for a prostate condition.

Corneal said last night that the President was resting comfortably and was "being kept for observation." He said Robinson was expected to be discharged at 5. 30 pm today.

Corneal said "the President did not express feeling unwell earlier."

It was just after three o'clock that Robinson reappointed Panday for a second term as head of the government in a simple ceremony at President's House.

December 22, 2000

President Arthur NR Robinson walked out of the Southern Medical Clinic around 6.10 pm yesterday, assuring reporters he was fine.

"Much better, thank you, very much better," was his response as he was led to his official car. "I am feeling much better than yesterday. I still need some exercise on my leg, having been in bed for some time; otherwise I am quite fit."

President Robinson said he had authorised his physician, urologist Dr Lall Sawh, to speak to reporters.

Robinson was rushed to the nursing home on Quenca Street, San Fernando, on Wednesday night, where he underwent minor non-invasive emergency surgery to stop urinary tract bleeding.

Three armed members of the Defence Force were posted outside his private room, while a Red Cross ambulance and driver remained parked in the yard from the time of his arrival to the time of his departure, in the event his condition worsened.

Dr Sawh, who is treating the President, said a number of tests were conducted and he is awaiting laboratory reports to decide what is the next step. He confirmed at a news conference yesterday morning His Excellency is no longer in danger, but is stable.

However, medical sources have not ruled out the possibility of surgery to correct the problem, bleeding in the urinary tract.

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