Afro-Trinidadians are outraged after a local doctor is heard telling a staff member at his private practice not to hire black nurses.
Several clips which captures a telephone conversation between Dr Avinash Sawh and his assistant, known only as Arielle, went viral on Thursday (November 5).
In one of the clips Sawh, who appears to be looking to fill a vacancy, tells his assistant that while he is not racist, he would prefer to hire Indian nurses only.
Sawh is heard in the clip, instructing his assistant to ensure that all job applications are submitted with a photograph, so he can see the applicants.
The doctor explains that while he was “not racial” based on client preferences it was just not good for his business to hire negro nurses.
“Yea Arielle, me and Allison talking here and a lot of patients racial so we prefer an Indian nurse, a lot of people don’t like – I not racial- I just saying a lot of people don’t want Negro nurses dealing with them, right. So, I just have to do what is best for my business, is a vibes I just get as I tell you so. Just tell all them applicants to send a photo ID,” Sawh is heard saying in the voice recording.
“Like Tracey Charles, I don’t know if Charles is Negro or Indian, but most likely she is Negro or mixed but I want to know so, tell Tracey Charles to send a photo ID, call she and tell she please,” added Sawh.
Since the recordings have began making the rounds on social media platforms, several persons have visited the doctor’s Facebook business page, Sawh Medical Associates, to share negative reviews about his business.
“He has no respect for his profession, his staff his patients or his country. He is a racist disgusting Human,” said one man on Facebook.
“I hope you lose your license.. very unprofessional and racist,” added a woman calling for patients to boycott Sawh’s practice.
The Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association has since come out in a statement to condemned the remarks made by the doctor noting that they would be supporting any investigations in to the voice recordings.
“An unfortunate event has been brought to the attention of the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association (T&TMA) regarding the alleged use of discriminatory language by a member of the fraternity. We wish to, in the strongest manner possible, condemn all forms of discrimination,” said the association in a release.
There is often tension among Trinidad’s two main racial groups which make up the majority of the population, data out of a 2010 research paper strongly suggests that the colour-class system of stratification used in the island’s colonial past still plays an essential role, along with racial stereotyping in society at large.