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Medical board not done with Dr Sawh yet

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Medical board not done with Dr Sawh yet

The Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago has not officially completed its probe into Dr Avinash Sawh despite withdrawing its letter dated November 15, 2020, that outlined five complaints against him.

Attorney-at-law Ravesh Persad, who represents the council, said the decision to withdraw the letter was taken to allow the body to determine whether any of the persons who raised complaints were willing to complete and sign the official complaint forms.

The move by the council followed several objections from Dr Sawhs lawyer, Martin George, who noted that it was improper to dispatch the letter to his client without the council first obtaining the signed complaint forms.

Agreeing that the move was premature, Persad said the medical board was advised to retract the letter and re-start the process:

“The council has accepted this advice. It has long been the customary practice to send to the prospective respondent everything in the possession of the council that is relevant when any decision is made to begin the inquiry process in relation to any member of the board.

“This, of course, is not to suggest for a moment that the council did not have before them proper valid indications of concern by members of the public and stakeholders in relation to [the] material in the public domain that may or may not impact on a member of the profession.”

However, Persad rejected assertions by George that the board’s decision to issue official complaint forms to the individuals who raised concerns was a breach of any existing regulations:

“The council does not take the view that there is anything at all objectionable in providing persons, who have raised concerns with the complaint form for them to exercise their discretion whether they wish to full out the form and sign it. We reject any suggestion that anyone associated with council is forcing anyone to fill out the forms and sign them.

“In so far as your suggestion that efforts by the council have been made to contact the young lady in the conversation with Dr Sawh we wish to put on record that we are strangers to such an allegation, an allegation, which I have advised the council, appears to be not only scandalous but potentially defamatory. If you have any proof of this please provide it, the council is anxious to know the basis for your allegation.”

He also condemned the argument that the flaw in the complaint process was so fundamental it was “incurable”.

Meanwhile, Persad assured that the council will proceed with gathering information through the complaint form process to answer the 20 questions Dr Sawh requested clarification on.

The board is expected to determine whether to embark on a new enquiry, based on the evidence before it, at its regular monthly meeting in February.

In November 2020, Dr Sawh came under fire for audio recordings shared online in which he referred to Afro-Trinidadians as “monkeys” and called members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service “dunce n***ers”.

He apologised, promised to attend sensitivity training moving forward and asked for forgiveness from the medical fraternity as well as those who had been affected.


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