The Director of Regional & Pan-African Affairs at the Emancipation Support Committee (ESCTT), Khafra Kambon, says the medical doctor who was caught abusing his staff in a viral social media video, must be decertified as a medical professional.
In a news release issued today, the ESCTT chief spokesman says, in light of his hate-filled diatribe, there is no other recourse but decertification, given that this is a medical professional with responsibility for caring for members of the public, of all ethnicities and backgrounds.
Mr Kambon expressed concern that there has been an increase in this sort of behaviour from many persons since the August 10 General Election, and he is calling on the authorities to tackle the problem at the foundation—by employing a systemic and multi-layered approach to improve race relations in this country.
The full text of the ESCTT statement, follows…
Racism and Medicine – A Toxic Mix: Decertify the Ranting Doctor
The Emancipation Support Committee of Trinidad and Tobago is looking forward to the decertification of the medical doctor at a private clinic in San Fernando whose abusive behaviour, anti-African racist language, and racist sentiments have been strongly condemned by citizens and organizations throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
His behaviour and sentiments would be abhorrent under any circumstances, but given his profession and the faith which people who need medical care would put in him, such racist convictions become dangerous.
In his rant against Africans generally, which was recorded, he insulted two groups of local professionals specifically: nurses, making it clear that Africans must not be hired as nurses in his clinic; and police officers, whom he called “dunce”, a charge which in the context of his statement seemed to be an extension of the racial slur.
Inaction or delayed action at this time is not an option since urgent action from the responsible authorities is necessary, both to protect the public from the potential dangers to persons who may unknowingly place their trust in this doctor (who remains unnamed in the formal media) or otherwise find themselves in his care through circumstances beyond their control.
In this regard, we applaud the quick action of Minister Deyalsingh to refer the matter to the Medical Board. The public is looking forward to the revocation of this doctor’s licence. There should be no place for someone filled with such hate and bias to practice his profession on people of any ethnicity.
Our concern about the reported outburst goes beyond the individual however. This is not the first such incident of a racist rant in the public domain that the country has experienced within the last few months. The post-election period produced some of the most inflammatory outbursts on social media, the most venomous and degrading of which were aimed at Africans.
The sentiments expressed in such outbursts are not new. They are getting much broader exposure due to the nature of the social media that is widely available. Our society cannot continue moving towards that precipice, more dangerous in a time when COVID and increasing economic challenges are pushing us to the edge.
The doctor’s outburst reinforces what everyone in the society is aware of, but which has not been addressed with the urgency which it requires. We live in a society where ethnic groups are influenced by deeply rooted negative stereotypes about each other. Prejudices about race and colour are substantially informed by the historical experiences of slavery and indentureship. These oppressive experiences are re-enforced by mis-education, mass media, mythologies, religious beliefs, prejudices and artistic representations of divinity which degrade or diminish the Black complexion. Up to the present, the information which could correct historical distortions is missing, particularly at the foundational stages of formal education. Our mass media is also lacking in that regard.
While we utterly condemn the statements and actions of the doctor and expect the appropriate punishment therefore, the ESCTT, recognizing the depth of the challenges calls on those in authority to tackle the overarching problem. There has to be a systematic, multilayered approach to overcoming the cultural prejudices and racism that are eating away at the society.
Our organization possesses internal skills and the capacity to mobilize necessary human resources to address the challenges at multiple levels and assist relevant institutions in this regard.
We would welcome discussions with the Medical Board to discuss ways in which their members can benefit from racial sensitivity training to increase their cultural competency.
Director, Regional & Pan-African Affairs