Doctor apologises for racist rant, pledges to promote equality
Less than a week after he became the centre of controversy for making racially insensitive remarks towards an employee, Dr Avinash Sawh has issued a formal apology to his family, his employees, colleagues, the police and the nation.
Sawh’s remarks surfaced in a recorded telephone conversation over the weekend in which he was heard making racist comments about people of African descent and members of the police.
At a media conference on Wednesday morning at his attorney Martin George’s office in Port of Spain, Sawh read a prepared statement in which he apologised to his employee Ariel Figaro and “unreservedly apologised” to his community.
He said the comments made were not reflective of his values and upbringing and pleaded with the public to forgive him.
“I am manning up and accepting full responsibility for the hurt I have caused in these varying sectors. Such statements, upon mature reflection, have no place in a cosmopolitan society.
“I have brought shame and embarrassment on my family, employers, community and profession. I now understand fully the damaging effect these statements can have on our multicultural society.”
Sawh also said despite his remarks, he has always held the police in “high esteem” and vowed to make contributions to the police’s I Support Our Service (ISOS) campaign.
As well as apologising, Sawh also promised to take action against racism and prejudice by making charitable contributions to programmes in order to promote equality.
He has also agreed to do sensitivity training to avoid other incidents from happening again.
Responding to reports that Figaro has received threats to herself and her family since the recording was leaked, Sawh said he has not been in contact with her by any means.
“I have never threatened her life or anyone else’s lives. Since this happened I have made no contact via messaging or calls or whatever.”
Sawh’s office in San Fernando has been closed since the recording was leaked and he said he has not spoken with any of his patients since.
George called for the government to establish a permanent council on race relations to address issues of prejudice and inequality while creating programmes to promote equality.
BY: SHANE SUPERVILLE