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Sep 28, 2017

Thumbs Up for Franz Parke

Franz Parke

Turning to judicial matters, the appointment of Franz Parke as a Justice of the Court of Appeal is going through. The Jamaican-American has legal qualification from the University of the West Indies and Norman Manley Law School – where he was a classmate of Prime Minister Dean Barrow. After five years practicing in Jamaica, he settled in South Florida for extended stints in real estate and accounting law sandwiched around practice in the Florida State legal system. To those like the Bar Association and Leader of the Opposition who cite his lack of direct judicial and legal experience in the Caribbean and the Commonwealth, the P.M. maintains that he is already qualified.

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“The U.S. is a common-law jurisdiction in the same way as Belize is. Now, if you’re a U.S. lawyer, you go to Norman Manley for six months or something and you qualify to practice. He was already qualified – not just having gone through the formal instruction and gotten his credentials, but having practiced in his homeland for five years. Look at the C.C.J. – because it’s a CARICOM-wide thing – one of the justices, Mr. Justice [Jacob] Wit, who’s from Suriname, had absolutely no experience in common-law legal learning, he was a civil lawyer. Nevertheless, he came on the C.C.J., where he is one of the more outstanding of the judges. So I genuinely do not see the fact that the bulk of Mr. Parke’s practicing experience has been in the United States, more time practicing in the United States than in the Caribbean – I do not see that that is a disqualification. And when I look at the Constitution, what is required is that this person should have been entitled to practice in our jurisdiction for a certain number of years and he was so entitled from 1975. I’m sorry to say that it’s as long ago as that that I graduated and therefore he graduated. So I am convinced. He had come already and he had done one session as a temporary judge, I had no complaints from the President of the Court or from any other member of the Court, and I am convinced that Franz, as bright as he is and with all the experience that he has, will make a fine Justice of Appeal.”

 

There is no indication if the Governor General has signed off on the appointment.

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