?The Indo-Trinbago Equality Council (ITEC) is calling on Prime Minister Patrick Manning to launch a commission of enquiry into allegations of racial discrimination against East Indian doctors at the Port-of-Spain General Hospital. The call was made by council chairman Devant Maharaj.
It followed a claim by Caroni East MP Dr Tim Gopeesingh who said in Parliament on Friday that ethnic cleansing was taking place at the medical institution, forcing doctors of East Indian descent to leave. Maharaj said the commission should be set up to "investigate the serious allegations of racial discrimination against Indian workers in the public sector."
He said the matter "merits serious consideration in light of the increase in medical negligence cases involving foreign doctors at our hospitals." Both Prime Minister Patrick Manning and Leader of Government Business in the House, Colm Imbert, described Gopeesingh's claim as being irresponsible in the extreme.
But ITEC yesterday spoke out against Manning's condemnation of Gopeesingh's allegation. Manning had told Parliament that such claims should not be made in the nation's Parliament. "ITEC condemns the Prime Minister's statements that the plight of the discriminated Indian is not an appropriate item for discussion in Parliament," the release said.
Maharaj said the Council noted "with interest that the Prime Minister declares this to be Government's position and indicated that the (allegation of) racial discrimination against Indians should not be debated 'whether there is evidence or not.' "