Mother, daughter rift over prosecution of man who chopped family

Several months after Dorothy Blackman and three of her children were brutally chopped by her husband she has reconciled with the man and insists that she would not testify against him in court. She has now launched a public campaign against one of her daughters, Wanda Fortune, who was also wounded in the attack, but is adamant that her stepfather, Shawn Fordyce, should be prosecuted for the crimes he committed.

While Blackman says she does not want to destroy her daughter and that what she has said about her publicly has nothing to do with Fordyce being prosecuted, Fortune, a young attorney, thinks otherwise.

Shawn Fordyce
Shawn Fordyce

Last August Fordyce launched an attack on Blackman and her three children, including Fortune, with Blackman bearing the brunt of the attack. (Fordyce is the youngest child’s father.) Following the chopping Blackman was in and out of hospital for three months and the police later issued a wanted bulletin for the man but he has been on the run ever since.

Today Blackman is without her left ear lobe, which was sliced off in the attack, she has a scar on the left side of her face and she still has difficulty using her left arm. Her children carry scars and suffer various difficulties because of the assault.

Blackman was not keen on speaking about the reconciliation with her husband saying, “It is my business,” and while she denies she is on a campaign to destroy her daughter she made several allegations against her chief among which was that she had abandoned her and was not doing enough to repay a mortgage which had been taken out to ensure she completed her law studies.

The story of the mother and daughter is a tragic one, as a few years ago when Fortune was admitted to the bar she spoke glowingly of her mother whom she said made tremendous sacrifices to ensure she completed her studies.

She had spoken of the woman as a rock, who even though she was a paper vendor moved mountains to ensure her daughter became a lawyer. Blackman in her turn had spoken of the daughter who had worked hard and in whom she had seen potential and wanted to succeed.

Today Blackman says her daughter has abandoned her and is motivated by greed, and that all she wants is for her  to do more to help repay the mortgage. Her daughter on the other hand says her mother wants to destroy her character simply because she has insisted that Fordyce should be punished for his crimes.

While Blackman has not denied that her daughter has been assisting with the mortgage she feels that the young lawyer, who is attached to the Legal Aid Clinic, could afford to pay more than she is giving even though she admits that Fortune has other obligations to the bank. The latter had taken out a loan so that the mortgage on Blackman’s house could be paid for the remaining five months of last year since her mother was unable to work because of her injuries. Fortune also has a second loan from the bank which has to be repaid.

While she had been complaining to people around that Fortune had abandoned her, Blackman took those allegations to a new level recently when she went on national television and repeated them on a live programme. Her action has now forced Fortune to attempt to clear her name, and she maintains that she is helping her mother to the best of her ability.

Another of Blackman’s daughters, who herself was injured in the attack but who does not want to be named, told the Sunday Stabroek that her mother has indicated that she wants to “finish the story” so that Fordyce could return home and work and assist her, because they [her children] are not helping her.

With reference to her mother’s allegations, Fortune said in a recent interview they were “devastating.”

“Some people believe that I should be angry with her and shun her, but at the end of the day… it is my mother and I cannot… but I am at the point where I think it is best for myself physically and emotionally [to] keep my distance… she is still my mother and I wouldn’t set out to deliberately hurt her and I am just devastated, hurt and crushed that she would set out to do something like that to me…”

Her mother, she said, told her that she would stand by her husband’s side, and that if her daughter “play bad mind and get him arrested…that she would do whatever it takes to destroy me so that people would stop seeing me as this good girl I am trying to portray, but I didn’t expect for it to go this far.”

The young lawyer said that while she knew her mother had levelled all kinds of allegations to anyone who lent an ear, she did not expect her to take it on national television. The two have not spoken for months and while Fortune said that she was forced to change her cellular number as her mother would call and abuse her, Blackman denied this. The lawyer said she would call her mother from time to time from her office phone but she has refused to take her calls.

She has since written a formal lawyer’s letter to her mother, the host of the programme and the television station asking that they retract what was stated on the air and offer an apology on live television.

Fortune said she knows she has a legal obligation to help repay the loan since some of the money was spent on her, and she has every intention of doing so and doing it with interest. She also said that from the time she started working she has been helping her mother as much as she can.

She sometimes feels that she is living in a nightmare, even as she thinks about the psychological effects this situation would have on her younger siblings who have been forbidden from speaking to her.

She said that after Fordyce carried out his onslaught he called repeatedly threatening them, and said his only regret was the fact that no one died.


Blackman blames Fortune for the attacks because of the “way she speak to him and treat him when she come back from Trinidad.” Asked how she could reconcile with a man who almost killed her the woman said that only when you are in a situation could you understand.

“I use to read the newspaper and say how a woman could mek up with a man who beat her and say I would never do that, but only when you in the situation,” the woman said.

She claimed that when she eventually returned to her Sophia home months after the attack she was abandoned by her children and relatives and could not cook or do anything for herself.

“Who you think use to cook and ensure food and so on come for and ensure that everything was okay it was him [Fordyce],” Blackman said, while refusing to entertain the suggestion that it was her husband who had caused her to be temporarily disabled because of his attack.

She maintains that all she wants is for her daughter to help out more with bank loan since according to her the two younger children have aspirations and she will not be able to assist them to further their studies if she is saddled with the huge loan.

And while she repeated she did not want to destroy Fortune, the young lawyer said that the damage had already been done as people are now pointing her out in the street as the lawyer whose mother worked hard to send her to school and who has now abandoned her.

“Two women actually said this while I was going up the court steps recently, and many persons are watching me strangely in the streets…” the young attorney said.

Fortune feels that the only reason Fordyce has not yet been arrested is because he has many relatives in the disciplined forces. He is said to be in Berbice where at times he is said to be seen in the company of serving police ranks.


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