Doctor calls for Medical Board to resign over Sawh slurs
Dr Andre Alleyne is calling for the Medical Board to resign for “mishandling” the matter involving Dr Avinash Sawh.
Sawh came under heavy public scrutiny after he was heard slinging racist and derogatory comments at one of his employees over a phone call last November. In the recording, when the employee threatened to have the police intervene, Sawh referred to policemen as “dunce n—ers” and Afro-Trinidadians as “monkeys.”
Sawh later apologised to the woman and anyone else offended by his comments.
The board said it had received five complaints from its members which spurred an investigation into the matter.
Since then a letter the board sent to Sawh has been withdrawn and no action was taken.
Alleyne, who first e-mailed a complaint to the board last year spoke to the media after filing a formal complaint against Sawh on Thursday afternoon as he staged a one-man protest outside the board’s Mt Hope office.
He said the board had said it couldn’t consider his first complaint and an official complaint must be made using a complaint form.
“So one is left to question: which complaints were being investigated by the board? The Medical Board has deceived both me and the public on this matter,” Alleyne said.
He accused the board of “playing both sides” as he expressed concern that Sawh had been let off the hook “without even a slap on the wrist by the Medical Board.”
In a six-page open letter delivered on Thursday, Alleyne said the board should “resign and hang their heads in shame (over) the way they’ve dealt with this incident.”
He said the mishandling could interfere with the relationship and confidence between the public and the medical fraternity.
“The board could and should have acted swiftly and decisively based on overwhelming evidence readily available in the public domain.”
He said some sort of action must be taken so that the public isn’t left with a perception that the board might “favour an ethnic group that makes up the majority of its membership over others or favour members of the higher socioeconomic class.
“The Medical Board,” he argued, “has failed the young lady who first made the public aware of the foul ways of Dr Sawh after suffering through his verbal abuse, they have failed the complainants who took the time to write to them on this matter, they have failed the medical fraternity and they have failed the public.”
Alleyne said the board needed to improve some of its operations to better deal with future similar issues in a timely and impartial way.
In response, Sawh’s attorney Martin George told Newsday Alleyne’s concerns could have been expressed in a much more mature, rational, and professional manner.
He said he was shocked by some of the claims made against the board in the open letter, which could possibly provoke a legal reaction.
He commented, “One can only imagine that there may now be consideration of whether there can now be an issue of defamation of character in a claim made by the Medical Board against him, because the words and statements used can possibly be interpreted as nothing but an all-out broadside attack by a doctor, against the Medical Board.”Newsday called the board’s office, was told to send an e-mail and did so. There was no response up to 5 pm.
BY: ELIZABETH GONZALES