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[Update] Sawh asks Medical Board for more time to respond to complaints

Martin George & Company > Interviews  > [Update] Sawh asks Medical Board for more time to respond to complaints

[Update] Sawh asks Medical Board for more time to respond to complaints

DESPITE Dr Avinash Sawh publicly apologising and owning up to making racist remarks, his attorney, Martin George, has asked the Medical Board to give them until mid-December to respond to complaints.

Sawh was recently heard making racist, obscene and discriminatory comments in voice messages that went viral on social media. He boasted about being a “multi-millionaire,” calling the police “dunce, uneducated and poor.”

He also asked for anyone who applied to be a nurse at his office to send a photo ID, since his patients prefer nurses of a specific race.

The San Fernando-based doctor has since apologised. He said at a press conference, “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.”

But the Medical Board later issued a release saying the matter will be investigated, adding that it had written to Sawh “for an explanation.”

Speaking with Newsday on Monday afternoon, George said they had received the correspondence but replied with a request for more time since there is a total of five complaints.

“We need more time to put together a comprehensive answer. We need to deal with each one separately.” He said one of the complainants is Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

Newsday contacted Deyalsingh who confirmed he filed a complaint but suggested Newsday contact the Medical Council for any further details of it.

He had previously said it was a private-sector issue but that he was advised by Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi to file a complaint to “protect the public interest.”

Asked if there is a possibility Sawh’s licence might be revoked before these responses are sent, George said, “Due process would normally require that you wait for a response.

“The Medical Board has not suggested they are going to do that and I don’t think they would even contemplate that. I am not going to be engaging in that kind of speculation against the Medical Board.”

Before becoming Sawh’s attorney, George had shared his thoughts on the incident. He said he had “represented the Medical Board of TT in the past,” and described Sawh’s comments as “very disturbing and concerning…

He continued, “Apart from the fact of it being morally reprehensible, it is something that can also be actioned by the Medical Board by way of disciplinary procedures that they can institute, based on what would be a valid complaint or referral to them in that regard.”

He said he was looking forward to seeing how the board would deal with the situation “so that the public’s faith and trust in the honour, dignity, civility and decency of the medical profession would certainly remain untarnished by this unfortunate, singular incident.”

Sawh has faced harsh criticism from the public, including from Emancipation Support Committee director Khafra Kambon and Pundit Satyanand Maharaj.

On the news of Sawh and his attorney asking for more time, many social media users were displeased.

One commenter said, “Because he knows Trinidad mentality, out of sight out of mind. Hoping people forget.”

Another said, “They trying to find a way to excuse his behaviour and save his practice.”

Newsday tried to contact Sawh but calls to his cell phone went unanswered, and the clerk at his office said he would not be coming in.

This story has been adjusted to include additional details. See original post below.

ATTORNEY Martin George has asked the Medical Board to give him until mid-December to respond to complaints against his client Dr Avinash Sawh.

Sawh was recently heard making racist, obscene and discriminatory comments in voice messages that went viral on social media. He boasted about being a “multi-millionaire,” calling the police “dunce, uneducated and poor.” He also asked for  anyone who applied to be a nurse at his office to send a photo ID since his patients prefer nurses of a specific race.

Sawh has since apologised. He said at a press conference, “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.”

But the Medical Board later issued a release saying the matter will be investigated, adding that it wrote to Sawh “for an explanation.”

Speaking with Newsday on Monday afternoon, George said they have received the correspondence but replied with a request for more time, since there is a total of five complaints.

“We need more time to put together a comprehensive answer. We need to deal with each one separately.”

He said one of the complainants is Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

Asked if there is a possibility Sawh’s licence might be revoked before these responses are sent, he said, “Due process would normally require that you wait for a response.

“The Medical Board has not suggested they are going to do that and I don’t think they would even contemplate that. I am not going to be engaging in that kind of speculation against the Medical Board.”

BY: NARISSA FRASER

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