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New Justice Of Appeal Franz Parke Resigns Unexpectedly #527487
12/05/17 04:43 AM
12/05/17 04:43 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,977
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP
After only seven weeks as a sitting Judge on the Court of Appeal, Justice Franz Parke has resigned.

A press release from the Government says, quote, "The Office of the Prime Minister is in receipt of a copy of a letter sent to the Governor General… Sir Colville Young by Justice of Appeal Franz Parke in which he tendered his resignation… with immediate effect." End quote.

You'll remember him as the judge whose appointment was controversial because the Opposition and the social partners opposed it. They said he wasn't qualified.

Opposition Leader John Briceño even took out a lawsuit against the Government, and it appears that Parke's decision to step down was influenced by that. The Government press release says, quote, "The Office of the Prime Minister understands that Justice Parke made his decision in order to spare the Court any exposure that a trial on the issue of his tenure would create." End Quote.

The PUP was the first to react to the news, releasing a statement welcoming the resignation. And this evening, Briceño invited the press to his office - to take a sort of victory lap:

John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"This is no time for celebration or for gloating that we had a win over the Prime Minister. I think we should never reach to a point where we are challenging the Prime Minister's appointments to either the Supreme Court or to the court of appeal. But saying that, I want to welcome the news that Justice Frank Parke has tendered his resignation as a justice for the court of appeal. I think that he did the right thing. At the same time I also want to thank all the social partners - the Belize Bar Association, the Belize Chamber of Commerce, the Unions and all the social partners who jointly were expressing grave concern that the Prime Minister decided to appoint his former school mate from law school. A person that was obviously not properly qualified for the job, but yet the Prime Minister, despite all the concerns that were being raised decided that he is going to do as he wishes."

"Even to the point where I as the Leader of the Opposition wrote him in two occasions raising the concerns and took out an actual lawsuit. The Prime Minister decided that he was going to ram thorough this disappointment."

"Doesn't this vacuum essentially put the Prime Minister as well as the opposition in the same shoe? In the sense that he can once again appoint anyone of his choosing and we have the same scenario played out over again?"

John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"Well I am hoping that the Prime Minister eat a little bit of humility and to try to do something that he hasn't been doing for a long time, the right thing. That he would try to identify a judge that we believe would meet the standards that is expected from members from the court of appeal."

Daniel Ortiz, reporter
"I've sat in the court of appeal many times and a concern that has been raised by the president Manual Sosa is that they are under siege by the number of cases. We've decreased the number of judges who can take those cases into hearings by 1) that's going to have a real-time effect."

John Briceno, Leader of the Opposition
"You have to do things right. Not because there is this need or urgent need you are just going to throw anybody in there. We can't do that. We are talking about providing justice in this country and we have to ensure that we should never second guess the judges in our court system."

The PUP's press release on Parke's resignation says, quote, "We are grateful that Mr. Parke, in the end, demonstrated the moral fortitude, respect and regard for the Court and the country which, unfortunately, Mr. Barrow did not." End Quote.

Channel 7

Jamaican resigns as Belize judge after mounted opposition

Jamaican attorney Franz Parke, who was recently sworn in as a Court of Appeal judge in Belize amid controversy, resigned today.

The Office of the Prime Minister in Belize, in a release to the media, said his decision to resign immediately is an effort to spare the court any exposure that a trial on the issue of his tenure would create.

Belizean media reports in October said the Leader of the Opposition People's United Party, Johnny Briceño, filed a claim to have the Belize Supreme Court declare Parke's appointment null and void on the basis that it violates the Belize Constitution — the highest law of the land.

The opposition to Parke, the reports suggest, comes from two standpoints — his qualifications and his past.

Reports have surfaced which suggest that Parke has very limited knowledge of Caribbean law, although he has been an attorney in the US for over two decades.

Critics, including the Opposition party, have pointed out that the laws in the US and in the Caribbean are very different and argue that Parke does not meet basic requirements to hold the job.

However, Prime Minister Dean Barrow, who is a former law-school classmate of Parke's, had dismissed concerns raised by the Bar Association over the appointment.

In terms of his past, media reports have described Parkes, as having a “questionable” past because of an inter-agency investigation that took place at the Miami-Dade State Attorney's office in the US, which focused on Parke, a prosecutor at the time. The investigation reportedly never materialised and Parke left the attorney's office a year later and started private practice.

Despite Barrow's assertions, at least one prominent defence attorney declared that he would challenge Parke directly if any of his clients come before him in the Court of Appeal.

Jamaica Observer

Re: New Justice Of Appeal Franz Parke Resigns Unexpectedly [Re: Marty] #527503
12/06/17 05:56 AM
12/06/17 05:56 AM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 82,977
oregon, spr
Marty Offline OP

Marty  Offline OP

AG Says JA Park Abrupt Resignation Regrettable

Last night, we told you how Justice of Appeal Franz Parke resigned suddenly after only 7 weeks on the job. The Opposition and the social partners strongly objected to him taking the post on the premise that he was under qualified, but the Prime Minister went ahead with the appointment.

The Opposition Leader sued the Prime Minister and the Government of Belize, but yesterday, before the case could reach the court, Justice Parke stepped down.

The PUP have welcomed his decision to do so as the right thing, but when we caught up with Attorney General Michael Peyrefitte today, he said that it is regrettable that the judge decided to walk away. Here's what he had to say about it:

Mike Peyrefitte, Attorney General
"It's unfortunate whenever a judge feels the need to step down. Very disappointed. I personally don't feel like should have or needed to step down. But I can also see merit in what he did. Justice Parke felt that with some false allegations and wild allegations that were coming his way, that he didn't want to make a spectacle of the judiciary. Clearly, with some of the accusations that were coming, he would have had to be present and he would have had to subject himself to some cross examinations and his position is that in cross examination he would have easily dismissed the wild allegations."

"However, he didn't want to, like I said, make a spectacle of his appointment. He didn't want to be a distraction. He didn't want to give anybody any excuses for any judgements coming out of the court of appeal. He did an honorable thing in a way. He didn't want the good work of the court of appeal to be tainted by some allegation against him that he knew to be false. So with that he decided in the best interest of the judiciary and in the best interest of the administration of justice, that he would resign."

"Trying to find a replacement for him, it must be an urgent task, is it not?"

Mike Peyrefitte, Attorney General
"Well he has picked a good time to resign in the sense that the court of appeal in is recess. I won't expect another sitting to occur until around March or so. So there is ample time to go look for one and there are enough out there that I don't think that there will be any difficulty in finding one. We are confident that no matter who they find, or who we find, that they will be objections to it by the Opposition and by Eamon Courtenay and by whatever. We know that they will object for the sake of objecting, but what it is, is what it is. I hope that they would demonstrate more mature behavior, but I doubt it."

"Do you still maintain that Franz Parke was the man for the job?"

Mike Peyrefitte, Attorney General
"Indeed he was the man for the job."

According to the Attorney General, Justice Parke was appointed and duly sworn in as a temporary judge of the Belize Court of Appeal between 2014 and 2015. He pointed out that nobody objected then, and so, he says that he doesn't see why there are objections now.

In other news from the Judiciary we're told that attorney and Chairman of the Integrity Commission Marilyn Williams is about to take up an appointment to the Supreme Court as a judge. This may happen in January when he next session opens. Another chair of the Integrity Commission will have to be named.

Channel 7

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