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Dr Avinash Sawh

The Medical Board of Trinidad and Tobago (MBTT) has launched an investigation into the conduct of Dr Avinash Sawh, who was outed last week by an employee for making racist and derogatory statements.

At a press conference on Wednesday, while flanked by his legal team, Sawh apologised profusely for his statements.

But rather than dull the public outrage, there have been even more calls for the Medical Board to revoke his medical license.

In a release yesterday, the Medical Board said it met on Wednesday to discuss Sawh’s comments and it strongly condemns any form of racial discrimination, racial slurs, or verbal abuse by registered medical practitioners.

“These actions can be potentially construed as infamous and disgraceful conduct on the part of a doctor as defined in the Medical Board Act,” the release stated.

The MBTT said in light of this, it’s Council has decided to launch an investigation into Sawh’s behaviour.

“As an initial step, correspondence will be sent to Dr Avinash Sawh seeking an explanation,” the release said.

Sawh’s attorney, Martin George, who last week called for the MBTT to take action against Sawh, said he welcomes the investigation.

When George made his comments on TTT News, Sawh was not yet his client. But he told Guardian Media yesterday that he still thinks some corrective action needs to be taken.

“Of course at the end of the day, when you say take action, it’s a question of what action needs to be taken, and as I pointed out yesterday in the press conference this points to a much broader and wider problem in the society and if it is the medical board investigates and finds this is a pattern of behaviour which is endemic in the medical profession, then, of course, I would like them to take action,” George said.

He said confronting these issues will be for the good of society as a whole.

“While this may appear to be an isolated incident it raises this underlying question as to whether it represents some sort of pattern of behaviour and in that regard, I would like the medical board to take action.”

George said if this problem is found to be pervasive in the medical fraternity, doctors should receive sensitivity training.

He said sometimes, racial and derogatory statements are borne out of ignorance and stupidity.

“But at the end of the day, there is no excuse for not recognising that we live in a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multiracial society and we must therefore be able to have that understanding, empathy and sensitivity to be able to appreciate and empathise with other people situations even if they are from a different social background, a different class background, different ethnic background from ourselves.”