BELIZE CITY, Fri. Mar. 5, 2021– The Minister of Human Development, Families and Indigenous People’s Affairs, Hon. Dolores Balderamos Garcia, was unknowingly recorded making inappropriate remarks last week that quickly went public. Balderamos Garcia had been in a virtual conference in recognition of the ten-year anniversary of PETAL (a women’s organization which promotes the empowerment of lesbian and bisexual women) when she was heard making insulting remarks about the village chairwoman of Hattieville.
“Of a UDP chairperson of Hattieville put her on and she got money. Sylvana Barrow is a wretch. She is the UDP chairlady of Hattieville. She is the one who stoned Bernardo,” Minister Balderamos Garcia could be heard saying.
Those comments by Hon. Balderamos Garcia were reportedly made in reference to allegations that Barrow had unjustly secured assistance (for a relative of hers) through the Covid-19 Cash Transfer Program (BCCAT). In response, Barrow, who has served as the chairwoman of the Hattieville village council since 2019, posted the recording of Balderamos-Garcia’s disparaging comments on Facebook. She also disclosed to the media that the recipient of the assistance she had secured is her own mother, who is a senior citizen and has, in fact, qualified for the BCCAT assistance.
Barrow also expressed in a telephone interview with 7News that she believes Balderamos Garcia is targeting her and has been doing so since she was elected in November. The chairlady claimed that she is the victim of a “witch-hunt” headed by Minister Balderamos Garcia, who she believes is trying to punish her for her political affiliations.
Sylvana Barrow also went on to state that Hon. Balderamos Garcia has also prevented her mother from receiving necessary aid from NEMO following a flooding incident that caused damage to her home. She states that she feels disrespected and believes Minister Balderamos Garcia should be ashamed of the way she is treating a fellow woman and of her alleged conduct as a minister of government.
On March 8, in response to condemnation of her remarks on social media, and in recognition of International Women’s Day, Minister Balderamos Garcia issued an apology on social media. She stated, “On Friday last I was heard to have made certain statements. I wish to apologize first to PETAL organization, and secondly to anyone who felt offended, including Sylvana Barrow. It was not my intention to offend anyone, but I realize that my words were not appropriate. Happy Women’s Day and Women’s Month to everyone!”