Should Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley publicly disclose the precise nature of his medical condition? Maybe I have a response of my own, and I will let you know, but just as important would be the process we need to engage to arrive at a position on this.

The first thing I think we would need to do would be to discard the partisan defaults which amount to an automatic ?No? if the person of your political preference is in power and a ?Yes? if you happen to be a supporter of the party in opposition. If we can overcome this challenge, we can move on and have a sensible discussion.

Then we would need to dispense with the national preoccupation with gossip and rumour. There is nothing that undermines public confidence and informed decision-making more than the impact of unfounded rumours and speculation.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

eldiscoduro.com
Of course, prompt and truthful disclosure blunts the impact of gossip, but would be no guarantee against continued rumour-mongering.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

mundinews.com
Already, this has been the case with respect to Dr Rowley?s so far undisclosed condition.

We would then need to recognise at the outset that in modern democracies privacy thresholds for both political aspirants and incumbents are different from what obtains for the rest of us as citizens.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
In some instances, there is scrutiny of what is revealed even after one has left office. I believe, for example, that for some public officials integrity legislation should follow them out of office for several years into their so-called private lives.

In a growing number of cases, such as with our Integrity in Public Life Act, disclosure is a legislated requirement for public officials while there are accepted ethical obligations associated with the transparent and accountable pursuit and exercise of political power.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

economiavenezuela.com
In essence, the extent to which a public personality with responsibility for managing the resources of a country and who has law-making duties can assert that personal finances, interpersonal conduct and even health status are his or her own business is limited to varying degrees.

In the case of health status, there is not usually an expectation that disclosure is necessary for things such as the installation of dentures, overcoming the common cold or flu or even for cosmetic procedures such as gastric bypass surgery, Botox treatments or tummy tucks.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

www.entornointeligente.com
Leave that to the rumour-mills.

The pervasiveness of non-communicable ?lifestyle? illnesses also means we can face quite a deluge of information on the incidence of hypertension, diabetes and heart disease, were we to insist on a high level of disclosure in these instances.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

xn--elpaisdeespaa-tkb.com
This is certainly a judgment call and there are noteworthy instances here and elsewhere in which it has mattered much had the public been aware of such challenges to the people who have led them.

In T&T most of our prime ministers since independence are reported to have been affected by one or several of these health issues and, for the most part, there has been no shroud of secrecy.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

breakingtrending.com
However, to this day, the precise circumstances surrounding the death of late PM Dr Eric Williams in 1981 remain something of a mystery.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

videojuegosmania.com
The ensuing speculation and confusion proved that Dr Williams? health status was anything but the late prime minister?s ?private business.?

We have also usually tended to pay more attention to physical as opposed to mental health.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

luisoberto.net
There is a current discussion on media ethics related to assertions about the mental condition of US Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

demasiadochevere.com
The media discussion is worth following because it points in the direction of acceptable and unacceptable journalistic treatment of some of our own concerns here albeit regarding the physical disposition of some of our politicians.

The thing is, it is not unreasonable for people to be concerned about the health of their leaders.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

enlasgradas.com
It is not always pure political ?farseness? and certainly not out of place for people to want to know what is going on.

When Barbadian Prime Minister David Thompson died in office in 2010, it only then came to light that he had more likely than not received an early diagnosis of pancreatic cancer.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

elnewyorktimes.com
In the process, he became the third prime minister from that island to die in office in 25 years. Tom Adams had died suddenly of an apparent heart attack in 1985 and was succeeded the following year by Errol Barrow who died soon after in 1987.

Between Adams and Thompson, the people of Dominica had to deal with the sudden death of Prime Minister Rosie Douglas of heart disease in 2000 and his successor, Pierre Charles who died in 2004 at the age of 49 from a heart attack.

Invoking such morbid scenarios is not to suggest that anything of the kind is currently in the offing, but to make the point that the health status of leaders is something that should be of material concern to all.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

People here, in Barbados, Dominica, Guyana, Grenada and St Kitts and Nevis have all been through the times when the ?private business? of their leaders? health suddenly became the source of grave public anxiety.

There is also the well-known example of President Woodrow Wilson of the United States who ruled for close to a year after a stroke that had been kept secret.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

Had we more reliable information, we could have also made reasoned assessments of what actually happened in one or two Caribbean states whose leadership idiosyncrasies ought to have stimulated greater active, public concern at the time were it not for the enduring culture of Caribbean secrecy.

In short.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

Should Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley publicly disclose the precise nature of his medical condition? Yes.

.

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Oberto Anselmi

© Luis Alfonso Oberto Anselmi

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