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Dr Sawh: Board biased

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Dr Sawh: Board biased

DR AVINASH SAWH, who is accused of uttering racist slurs, has sent another pre-action protocol letter to the Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago, this time accusing the board of being ‘tainted with bias’ against him.

He said, because of this, it may no longer be possible for him to have a fair hearing before the board.

Sawh alleged that the board has been reaching out to people to file complaints against him, which is outside of its remit.

He has given the board one week to respond.

Sawh wrote the board on Tuesday, through his attorney Martin George. In the letter, George pointed out that the five people who initially complained against his client did not follow the proper complaint procedure as outlined by the board.

He said, according to the practice and procedure of the board, complainants are required to fill out a form found on the board’s website and include evidence, including dates and full details about the complaint, which must then be mailed to the secretary of the board’s council.

He said none of the five complaints were on the board’s own complaint form.

George said Sawh had confirmed information that the board has since reached out to his (Sawh’s) former employee Arielle Figaro, inviting her to make a complaint against the doctor using the required form and to include any evidence she may have against him.

Flawed, null and void

Figaro is not among the five people who initially submitted complaints against Sawh and, according to George, ‘…this could never be in keeping with the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness’.

He called on the board to say where in its statutory remit it is mandated or authorised to invite complaints against its members.

‘We are putting it to you that the Council of the Medical Board has clearly gone outside of its statutory remit by such actions and it also raises our client’s concerns as to whom else the Medical Board has been secretly inviting and canvassing to file complaints against out client,’ George wrote.

On December 1, George also issued a pre-action protocol letters to the board, calling for it to cease its probe relating to the five complaints by January 12, as the complaints were ‘wholly flawed, null and void’.

The complaints against Sawh were submitted by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Dr Andre Alleyne, actor Karian Forde, Denica Richards and Justin Ramroop.

George objected to the board trying to rectify the situation by allowing complainants to submit the required documents ‘ex post facto’.

In the December 1 letter, George gave the board until January 12 to stop the probe.

Complaint form

In Tuesday’s pre-action protocol letter to the board, George argued that the very thing he and his client objected to in their December 1 letters was now happening.

He noted that apart from inviting Figaro to submit a complaint and evidence against his client, the board also encouraged political activist and 1990 attempted coup survivor Wendell Eversley to do the same.

George noted that Eversley wrote the board regarding Sawh on November 16.

He said following the board’s monthly meeting of December 2, held a day after he and his client responded to the five complaints and objected to the complaints, the board responded to Eversley.

He said in the letter, the board told Eversley that should he seek to lodge a complaint against a board member, he should do so on a complaint form.

‘The Council of the Medical Board did not stop there. It went further by actually enclosing a copy of the complaint form and the Council urged Mr Eversley to state the specific allegations to be investigated by the organisation, with his signature,’ George stated in the pre-action protocol letter.

‘These were some of the very objections which we took in relation to the five ‘complaints’ which the Council of the Medical Board had sent, and to which we replied by our letters of 1st December and now, clearly the Council was seeking to cure these very defects ex post facto by abandoning all pretence of impartiality and handing Mr Eversley a complaint form and basically guiding him through the requirements in order to fill it out properly, so as to try to avoid the very objections we raised to the five flawed and invalid ‘complaints’,’ he wrote.

He added: ‘Such actions clearly raise the issue of apparent bias against our client by the Council of the Medical Board and our client will be considering his options as to a challenge by way of Judicial Review should a biased or tainted Council of the Medical Board seek thereafter to sit in judgement of him.’

No contact

The Express tried reaching Figaro yesterday to find out if the board had reached out to her.

She did not answer her mobile phone.

Her attorney, Prakash Ramadhar, told the Express by phone that the board did not contact him directly.

‘I am not at liberty to say whether they reach out to her at this point in time,’ he said. Sawh is under probe regarding racist comments he made in a series of audio recordings and his use of abusive language towards Figaro.

The doctor, who owns Sawh’s Medical Associates in San Fernando, apologised for his behaviour a week after the recordings were leaked to social media.

By: Leah Sorias

IAPA concerned about intimidation of media by police commissioner in  Trinidad and Tobago

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