The term "ethnic cleansing," which was used by Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh in Parliament on July 17, has many meanings. When explored, the term is sometimes used to describe persecution through imprisonment, expulsion, or killing of members of an ethnic minority by a local majority, to achieve ethnic homogeneity in majority-controlled territory. However, Dr Gopeesingh said he was referring to "silent ethnic cleansing." In a telephone interview on Friday, Dr Gopeesingh said the main issue in Trinidad and Tobago was the existence of massive political discrimination, which was pervading the wider society.
Claims have been made that he misled the House, on July 17, when he said he was informed there was "ethnic cleansing" in T&T. Thus, a motion has been called for Dr Gopeesingh to be referred to the Privileges Committee. Dr Gopeesingh said he felt strongly about widespread discrimination, and used the 1933 German law that restricted Jews from certain aspects of life as an example. He said, "Over the last year, many doctors indicated to me that I was their only voice in Parliament."
He said he could never be a racist, because his best friends were Afro-Trinidadians and the majority of his patients were non-Indians. When asked if there was racial discrimination against Africans, he replied, "There is a lot of reverse discrimination as well, and anybody who discriminates is guilty of a crime. "No form of discriminatory practices should be tolerated." He said the issue of racial discrimination should be discussed at a national level.