Trinidad – Khan is ‘sorry’
minister of health apologizes to chinese for meat statements
PORT OF SPAIN –– Minister of Health Dr Fuad Khan has apologized to the Chinese community for statements he made in response to a video of a Chinese national butchering a dog in Trinidad.
Khan said today that he was extremely sorry for his comments which caused a decrease in sales at Chinese restaurants and prompted many to use social media to speak out against discrimination and bias.
Khan said he made his statements based on “erroneous information” he had received about the video.
His apology comes the same day that seven Chinese associations placed a full page advertisement in a daily newspaper to express how they felt after the remarks were made.
The statement read: “The result of the rebroadcast and the minister’s comments is that all people of Chinese descent have become the subject of derogatory comments, racial slurs, harassment, intimidation, racial isolation, intolerance and bias.”
Khan told the Express: “At the end of the day, it [the statement] was done on the spur of the moment based on what I was told that it was from a restaurant. I saw the video and what was told to me about the video was that it was for a restaurant which really raised red flags for me at that time. Later facts showed that it was not from a restaurant and I may have gone overboard in my statements, and for that I apologize to the Chinese people.”
He said there was nothing he could do to reverse the effects of his comments but to apologize.
Khan said: “I feel very sorry that it occurred and I would recommend to the population that based on what has occurred over the last week, there is no justification in what I said. I am extremely sorry for my statements.”
The minister said he had asked public health inspectors to step up in their inspections with all restaurants, not just Chinese.
Khan said: “I have asked the public health inspectors to just be a little bit more vigilant in every single restaurant in Trinidad and Tobago; not just Chinese restaurants; and to make sure that what is being served is correct. At the end of the day, that is all I could do to make sure that it is clean, and do sampling if necessary.
“We normally have stray dogs and one wonders if the Chinese restaurants, those which have sprung up all over the place, have been serving dog meat and something else,” Khan told Newsday.
Speaking on CNC3, he said: “The amount of stray dogs in this country have disappeared, and you don’t see them in a pound; so they have to be going somewhere; so I have been very particular. I know in China, rats are eaten, dogs are eaten, certain cats, and other things; and the Chinese government is coming down on quite a few of those people.”
He added: “When you mix food with MSG –– vetsin, that is –– it softens the meat. The taste will change, as well as the actual meat consistency, and it will look like beef, pork,