General — 14 October 2017 — by Adele Ramos
Briceño will take Barrow to court over Franz Parke appointment

Prime Minister Dean Barrow has decided to proceed and has advised the Governor General to appoint Mr. Parke to the Court of Appeal for a term of five years – which he expects the Governor General to do.

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Oct. 10, 2017–Opposition Leader Johnny Briceño is this week filing a legal claim in the Belize Supreme Court to challenge the “decision by the Prime Minister to advise the Governor General to appoint Franz Parke as a Judge of the Court of Appeal of Belize.”

As we had recently reported, the Opposition People’s United Party had passed a resolution instructing its legal team to proceed with the claim. Senior Counsel Eamon Courtenay, a member of that team, told Amandala that the claim will be filed tomorrow.

Courtenay said that the matter is a public law claim in which they are seeking specific declarations from the Belize Supreme Court.

Cabinet Secretary Carlos Perdomo told Amandala that the Government has every intention, to proceed with the appointment of Parke and signed instruments have already been sent over to the Governor General, Sir Colville Young, for signing.

According to Perdomo, that appointment will take place before the opening of the next Court of Appeal session. We understand from the General Registry that the session is due to open next Monday, October 16.
In his court claim, Briceño says that he had informed the Prime Minister that he did not support the said appointment, as he did not believe that Mr. Parke was duly qualified to be appointed to the Court of Appeal.
However, the Prime Minister Dean Barrow has decided to proceed and has advised the Governor General to appoint Mr. Parke to the Court of Appeal for a term of five years—which he expects the Governor General to do.

According to Briceño, the proposed appointment is unconstitutional. He claims that Parke “fails to meet the requirements provided under section 101(2) of the Belize Constitution, which stipulate that appointees to the Court of Appeal must be of a high caliber.”

The Opposition leader is asking the court for specific declarations which include:

(1) “…a declaration that Mr. Franz Parke does not satisfy the requirements of section 101 of the Constitution to be appointed a justice of the Court of Appeal of Belize.”

(2) “…a declaration that the decision by the Prime Minister to advise the Governor General to appoint Franz Parke as a Judge of the Court of Appeal for a term of five years is unconstitutional null and void,” and

(3) “…a declaration that Franz Parke was not constitutionally appointed to the Court of Appeal.”
Prime Minister Barrow has opposed assertions by the Opposition as well as by the Belize Bar Association and the Belize Association of NGOs that Parke is not suitably qualified.

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