Doctor threatens to take Medical Board to court over Sawh probe

Dr Avinash Sawh - Photo by Roger Jacob
Dr Avinash Sawh - Photo by Roger Jacob

A doctor who held a one-man protest outside the Medical Board in Mt Hope in February, calling on the board to resign for “mishandling” the matter involving Dr Avinash Sawh, wants a fair enquiry.

Attorneys for Dr Andre Alleyne have given the board 14 days to respond to a request for information before they approach the court to protect the integrity of the process.

Alleyne made a formal complaint against Sawh in February.

His was one of five complaints sent to the board. However, in March, the board said there had been a procedural flaw in the way the first complaint against Sawh had been received, and decided to restart the process by exercising its independent discretion to carry out an inquiry.

In a letter on Saturday, Alleyne’s attorneys Cristophe Rodriguez, Akiri Heath-Adams and Joash Huggins said their client remains anxious about the fairness of the board’s enquiries.

Sawh came under heavy public scrutiny after he was heard slinging racist and derogatory comments at one of his employees in 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.

Rodriguez said the lawyers were aware of the provisions of section 24 of the Medical Board Act, which allows the board to start its own enquiry, and the consequences if convicted, but added that the complainants were also entitled to a fair enquiry.

“We strongly suggest that it is only if this enquiry is conducted fairly on all sides that any result obtained therefrom will be able to withstand public scrutiny, permit the guilty to be punished proportionately and the successful party to feel vindicated.

He said Alleyne’s anxieties over the fairness of the conduct of the enquiry "have been amplified” by newspaper reports that Sawh had asked for three months to respond to the board.

Rodriguez said Alleyne has not been provided with a copy of the board’s letter or Sawh’s request to have until June to respond. He also asked for disclosure of all correspondence between Sawh and the council, or its tribunal; an outline of the procedure for the enquiry, a timetable of the progress of the enquiry; and an opportunity to be heard and represented by an attorney at the enquiry.

On Friday, the board’s attorney, Rajiv Persad, said if the council was actively acting on Alleyne’s complaint, it would have no difficulty in providing the material requested.

However, Persad reminded that the investigation was being done by the council in its own discretion as opposed to the complaints it had earlier received.

“I am concerned that this inquiry which is a private inquiry between the council and a member of the board raises all sorts of questions of whether the council should be passing information and material to third parties while the process is being carried out.”

Persad said the investigation and enquiry had started and “as a matter of courtesy” will apprise Alleyne as the process moves on.

He said when the process was completed the council would inform Alleyne of the outcome and invited him to indicate how he wished the council to deal with his complaints.

Persad also said the council had every intention of ensuring that the process was fair and the requirements of due process will be followed.


"Doctor threatens to take Medical Board to court over Sawh probe"

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