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May 13, 2022

Nora Parham to Receive First Posthumous Pardon in Belize’s History

In 1963, Nora Parham was sentenced to death after a biased justice system convicted her for the death of an abusive common-law husband. Almost sixty years later, the House of Representatives is seeking to reverse this miscarriage of justice. To this end, a motion was passed inside the National Assembly seeking to move the Belize Advisory Council to advise Her Excellency the Governor General to Exercise the Prerogative of Mercy. The intent is to have Nora Parham be granted posthumous pardon, and to have the sentence of death by hanging imposed on her on June fifth, 1963 revoked. Five of her eight sons were inside the National Assembly today during the reading of the motion. They were overtaken with emotions at the presentation. We spoke with Harry Parham, Nora Parham’s eldest son, following the reading.


Harry Parham

Harry Parham, Eldest Son of Nora Parham

“Her children, five of us are here. There are still three in the U.S. They will come down for a program we will have in June commemorating this day, and well I must say that the family feel a great relief. There is, it has been so emotional for us from the time the minister stated they were planning for this to happen. I was excited because it coincided on what we had been planning for the fifth. We had been planning a memorial service at the grave site on the fifth of June. So this comes in at the opportune time that the posthumous pardon will be done. I must say we are happy, we are relieved, and knowing that even the government at the level of Cabinet recognizes what we know from the beginning was true. Now it comes out and it comes out the way we really wanted it to come out. We have said all the time, when we heard about a posthumous pardon in the beginning, I shook my head and said that is not what we want. What we want is exoneration of our character, because we knew, not only a gut feeling, but the records of what happened in the trial of what happened, we recognize that they were not listening to her. They were not accepting her statement. They were not accepting other person’s statement. I saw a great bias in the decision the court made, the decision other persons made, even the decision of the jury and some of the statements that were made that were pronounced in court that the just used for their decision. Even the jury was pretty biased, because it think, if I am right, I think most of them were civil servants and all of them were men. Being civil servants and colonialist they would support the system as it was at the time. Having this done now was a great relief to us. We see this as whenever the general public looks at this now; they will look at her with a different frame of mine. They will recognize themselves that what was done was a grave injustice; not only in her life being abused, but also that she was dished out an injustice in the courts.”

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