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Opposition mounts to Jamaican's appointment as judge in Belize

Friday, October 06, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The appointment of a Jamaican to serve as a Court of Appeal Judge in Belize, has been met with ferocious opposition resulting in a row in that commonwealth country.
According to Belizean media reports, the oppositions surrounding Franz Parke's appointment comes from two standpoints — his qualifications and his past.

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

Critics, including the Belize Opposition People's United 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, dismissed concerns raised by the Bar Association over the appointment last week.

In addition, it was stated that Parke has, as described by media reports, 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, who was 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, the matter is believed to be far from over, as the Belizean People's United Party is reportedly preparing for a legal challenge against the government on the matter, and at least one prominent defence attorney is said to have declared that he will be challenging Parke directly if any of his clients come before him in the Court of Appeal.

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