Sawh alleges Medical Board ‘biased,’ wants complaints quashed
SAN Fernando-based doctor Dr Avinash Sawh is complaining of apparent bias on the part of the council of the Medical Board.
On Tuesday, Sawh’s attorney Martin George wrote to Dr Lesley Roberts, acting president of the board, accusing the council of descending into the arena by actively seeking and encouraging complaints to be filed against his client.
“Such acts deprive the council of all appearance of fairness, impartiality, objectivity and neutrality in these matters,” George charged as he gave the council until December 22 to say from whom it has solicited complaints.
He also demanded the council stop inviting further complaints against Sawh and gave the board until January 12 to “quash, dismiss, discontinue or discharge” the five original complaints by Health Minister Dr Terrence Deyalsingh, Karian Forde, Denica Richards, Justin Ramroop and Dr Andre Alleyne in November.
In his ten-page letter, George said the council was now “tainted with bias” because it invited someone to make a “proper” complaint against Sawh.
Sawh was recorded making racist, obscene remarks to a female employee, for which he has since apologised.
Five people, including Deyalsingh, wrote to the board asking it to investigate possible disciplinary measures.
The board eventually wrote to Sawh for an explanation for his rant.
This 100-page explanation was submitted on December 1, which was the deadline. George said the response pointed out that it was “pellucid” the five complaints were “all invalid, nugatory, irregular and wholly flawed.” He told Roberts none of the complaints were valid because they went against the board’s own practice, procedures and statutory obligations.
Chief among George’s objections was that none of the complaints were on the board’s own complaints form, as the procedures mandate.
“We cautioned against the council seeking either actively, or passively, to attempt to cure this lacuna ex post facto,” George said.
He then alleged the council did just that by urging activist Wendell Eversley, who wrote to the board in November, to state his specific allegations and sign the complaints form which was also sent to him.
“These were some of the very objections which we took in relation to the five complaints which the council sent and to which we replied,” George accused. He added, “And, now clearly the council was seeking to cure these very defects ex post facto by abandoning all pretence, and impartiality…So as to try to avoid the very objections we raised to the five flawed and invalid complaints.”
George wants to know where in its statutory remit the board or the council is mandated to invite complaints against members.
“It also raises our client’s concerns as to whom else the Medical Board has been secretly inviting and canvassing people to file complaints against our client,” George wrote.
“This is a matter of concern which goes beyond our client alone as other members of the medical profession should also be concerned if their board or council has now decided that, because of public pressure, it will start inviting complaints against medical practitioners, and then… sit in judgment and adjudicate upon such complaints.”
George warned that the “travesty of justice” that could flow from this was patent.
He said the mere fact that the board was inviting complaints, despite warnings, “strongly suggested that the Medical Board is tainted with bias,” adding that it may now be impossible for Sawh to get a fair hearing.
He accused the council of “embarking on a frolic of its own” in an attempt to appease the “public’s baying for blood” and the calls for Sawh’s head to be served on a platter.
He warned the council against going outside its statutory remit, saying it could lead to an unfettered abuse of power.
If the five original complaints were not quashed, he said, Sawh would be advised to file a judicial-review complaint in the courts.
By: JADA LOUTOO