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Sep 15, 2017

Senior Lawyer Makes Case Against Franz Parke for Court of Appeal

Franz Parke

Information reaching News Five is that Prime Minister Dean Barrow has formally advised Governor General Sir Colville Young to appoint Franz Parke as a Justice of Appeal, although the appointment is not confirmed.  Both the Bar Association of Belize and Leader of the Opposition John Briceño, with whom the Prime Minister is required to consult, have rejected the appointment on the basis that Parke, a Jamaican based in Florida, has no extensive judicial or even practicing legal experience.   But according to an article penned by Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, Parke graduated with Dean Barrow from law school in 1975, and has been living in the U.S. since 1980 after a five-year stint in criminal prosecution. Parke has been working in accounting and mortgage brokering and only qualified to practice law in the U.S. in 1990, working as an assistant state attorney in Florida until 2001 when he resumed private practice. Courtenay asks: “Why has the Prime Minister chosen his former classmate for high judicial office in Belize? Is the Prime Minister’s former classmate qualified to be appointed of the Court of Appeal?” Citing the Caribbean Court of Justice decision in the Bar case with the Government and Section 101 (2) of the Constitution, Courtenay makes the case that Parke is not of highest caliber and not qualified for the post. But he concludes that the Prime Minister will proceed with the appointment of his unqualified former classmate which is most regrettable and will result in legal challenges to Parke sitting as a Justice of Appeal.  Courtenay states that the ill-advised appointment is a retrograde step and will tend to undermine confidence in the independence of the judiciary and the rule of law. But its Belize 2017 and “what it is, is what it is!”

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