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May 16, 2022

Same Laws, Different Tolerance Now for Domestic Violence

Nora Parham

Friday’s eloquent speeches in the House of Representatives after Minister of Human Development Dolores Balderamos-Garcia presented the paper recommending that the late Nora Parham be granted a posthumous pardon were all well-received in the public domain. But we asked the minister, when we caught up with her at an event on Sunday, what protects the present-day Nora Parhams from enduring that same fate. This was her response.


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

Dolores Balderamos-Garcia, Minister of Human Development

“That is what happened back in 1963 – that there was no such thing as a battered woman’s syndrome defense then, and that is what is so sad and that we need to correct fifty-nine years later. We’re not going to change everything overnight, Marion, because we still have some very severe cases of domestic violence, but I would just like to say that because we are shining the spotlight as I put it, because you know there is something called the spotlight initiative, where the European Union and our United Nations partners are helping us with a big project to fight domestic violence in civil society and in government institutions. Because we have that awareness now, the sixteen days of activism against gender-based violence in November into December those kinds of activities and that kind of awareness tells us that we would like that the Nora Parham situation never happens again, and I think Hon. Tracy Taegar put it very eloquently in the House and I was very, very pleased that we were absolutely united on this issue in the House on Friday.

With the kinds of defense attorneys that we have these days and the spotlight having been shone on the issue of domestic violence, then those defenses will definitely come to the forefront now. The court can appoint a criminal defense attorney in capital cases as we call them.”


Marion Ali

“Is this any different now from what Ms Parham faced back then?”


Dolores Balderamos-Garcia

“Very different. There was a defense attorney. I believe the defense attorney at the time was named McKinstry, but because there was no awareness of the battered women’s syndrome and the issues of self defense when it comes to battered women, and you see, we were in a Colonial administration. This man was a policeman, and by the way, she had left him several times and went back you know. I say the whole story needs to be told. I can’t stand here and say that she didn’t light the match, but all indications are that it was he who accidentally lit himself on fire. It’s so very unfortunate, but she should not have had to pay the ultimate price for having been a victim of such horrendous violence.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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