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Oct 2, 2017

Franz Parke Appointment to be Challenged; 2 New Judges for Supreme Court

Franz Parke

Belize’s top two judicial courts are seeking to fill posts. In the case of the Court of Appeal, Prime Minister Dean Barrow is proceeding with the appointment of former classmate Franz Parke to a five-year term beginning with the current session. Leader of the Opposition John Briceño’s has opined that Parke is not qualified, but that has not stopped the Prime Minister to take that into consideration.   Now, the P.U.P. has resolved to challenge the appointment. Meanwhile, the P.M. last week announced appointments of two judges for the Supreme Court to help Chief Justice Kenneth Benjamin clear the backlog of cases, allowing him to meet his timeline to deliver twenty-eight outstanding judgments as requested by the Bar Association.

 

John Briceño

John Briceño, P.U.P. Leader

“Today we passed a resolution that we are going to challenge the Prime Minister’s stance. We think it is unconstitutional; we believe that Franz Parke does not have the necessary qualifications. None other than the Caribbean Court of Justice made a ruling that whenever you are going to name somebody to the Court of Appeal, it needs to be somebody of high legal standing, and we don’t believe that Mr. Parke has that. Mr. Parke left the Caribbean since 1980. Yes, we know he is a buddy with the Prime Minister; but that is nowhere. Does that in any way mean he qualifies to be a member of the Court of Appeal? The Prime Minister points out that he has already served in the Court of Appeal, but we need to put on record that at the time Francis Fonseca was leader of the P.U.P. and he wrote a letter not supporting it. And during his tenure, that short tenure, he only sat on one case. One! One case he sat on. And if you were to look at the records, you can see for yourself how much work he did on that case. If he wants to be honest, Mr. Parke can tell you how much work he did; and I’ll leave it as that.”

 

Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“I saw where the Chief Justice has agreed to accept assistance from two retired judges from the Caribbean. These are persons found by Sir Dennis Byron, the president of the C.C.J., assistance that we have to pay for, of course, but that’s not an issue. We are not nearly as broke as you people seem to think you know. It’s not that everything is coming up roses or that we are in clover, but we’re managing well. We can do what we need to do. With the advent of those two judges to assist the Chief Justice, I am extremely confident that he will then be able to clear up this backlog by the point in time, in December, that he has committed to do this.”

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