Dr Fuad Khan says he is a victim of discrimination, and he believes "that racism may have had a part to play." Khan claimed he was bypassed for a senior consultancy position last year for "a less experienced Nigerian doctor" who was working under a senior urologist.
He said that senior urologist and another East Indian doctor "were forced out of the hospital." In a telephone interview yesterday, Khan said the post of consultant urologist was advertised by the North Central Regional Health Authority (NCRHA) around August, last year, and that he had applied. However, after being interviewed by the panel, he said: "I never heard anything after."
Khan, who has been a senior consultant urologist for the last 16 years, said he met the requirements for the position, unlike the Nigerian surgeon, whose post-graduate degree was not in urology. He claimed that several doctors and members of staff at the hospital also informed him that ethnic cleansing was occurring in the medical field.
Khan said he was the one who had informed Opposition MP, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, of the issue of racism at Port-of-Spain General Hospital, and had asked him to raise the matter before Parliament. Dr Gopeesingh did so on Friday, and Prime Minster Patrick Manning and Works and Transport Minister Colm Imbert responded to Gopeesingh's comment, saying his statements were irresponsible and could provoke racial hatred. Khan said, however:
"They know exactly what they are doing, and it has stung them on their faces.
"There seems to be an attempt to frustrate the hiring of local doctors, so that they can control the foreign doctors who are on contract. "They are now making sure that they put us out of the system." He called on the PNM administration to cease the racial attack on East Indians in the country. "I want the PNM to stop practising racism towards Indians. "I am really serious...I have been pushing for equality in this country, not only for Indians, but for all races."
Khan also claimed that gynaecologists, opthalmologists and anaethesists have left. He even said one of the senior urologists was forced out without compensatory leave. Referring to the late Rosa Parks, who fought for the rights of blacks in the US, Khan said Gopeesingh was fighting for the rights of East Indians.
"Dr Tim is like Rosa Parks. He has begun a civil rights movement for equality of Indian people in T&T." Khan also said he "found out" that the scholarships offered to nationals to pursue medicine in Grenada were "given to 90 per cent of Africans and ten per cent to East Indians." Apart from education, he said the intake in the Public Service and the distribution of houses by the government were all part of the ethnic cleansing.
He is calling for a full-scale investigation into the NCRHA, and said he had applied for documents from the Freedom of Information Act, through his attorney Anand Ramlogan. "I am backing Dr Gopeesingh 100 per cent, because of what happened to me." He said according to Section 4 of the T&T Constitution, no national should be treated unfairly by a public authority or body. "If I have to seek judicial review, I will do that." Efforts to reach Health Minister Jerry Narace proved futile.