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Medics keep check on Panday's health
In Response To: Panday goes to jail ()

While in prison
Medics keep check on Panday's health

By Sean Douglas, newsday.co.tt

LEADER of the Opposition, Basdeo Panday, yesterday had several medical check-ups by prison doctors monitoring his health.

He had spent his first night of an expected seven-day stay at Golden Grove Maximum Security Prison after he had on Tuesday declined to take bail for bribery charges to protest his innocence.

Supporters have voiced that concerns over the health of Panday who is now 72 years old and has had triple-bypass heart surgery. Reports are that he requires tablets for his heart twice daily.

But yesterday, medical authorities at the prison infirmary, where Panday is staying, were taking care of him.

Siparia MP Kamla Persad-Bissessar told Newsday, "They do regular checks. The prison authorities administer the medications to him. His life is in their hands."

Persad-Bissessar visited Panday along with his wife Oma Panday and Caroni East MP Ganga Singh. They met him in a small room for one hour yesterday morning. They were not allowed into the actual infirmary.

Persad-Bissessar said, "He is quite comfortable, or as comfortable as one can be in those circumstances. He was in good spirits. He was adamant that bail not be taken." Panday is thought to be staying in conditions which are substantially better than those of ordinary prisoners, which were recently criticised in a report by Amnesty International.

In contrast, the prison infirmary was recently refurbished and has very tidy surroundings.

The room is outfitted with fans, beds, a medicine cabinet and even a radio.

Yesterday, Panday had a shower, and got a fresh change of clothing, plus a special meal to suit his dietary needs.

Persad-Bissessar said, "Last night we took clothing for him, and today he wore some of that clothing."

Reports are that Panday spent some of yesterday reading.

Persad-Bissessar also revealed that he requested a copy of the Koran, Bible and Ramayan."

Asked how the prison officers had been treating Panday, she said, "Some officers have been very kind to him." Had any been unkind? She replied: "He did not indicate any unkindness."

She said that when Panday was asked if he had any message for UNC supporters, he replied, "God would not give me a cross that is too heavy to bear." She added that he was very confident he would be vindicated.

Persad-Bissessar recalled Panday saying "I am in good spirits; do not despair."

She disclosed that the UNC leader had shared some words with his visitors which they were to relate to a UNC rally at Gasparillo last night.

Oma Panday, who had opted to take bail after also being charged for bribery on Tuesday, yesterday looked cool and confident in a bright red pants-suit as she emerged from Golden Grove after visiting her husband.

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