Prime Minister Dean Barrow regrets that Franz Parke resigned as a Justice of the Court of Appeal. That is what the Attorney General, Michael Peyrefitte, told us this evening. News of Parke’s resignation unexpectedly came yesterday, prompting the opposition, People’s United Party to withdraw its suit against the Government. The PUP had mounted a claim against Parke’s appointment, saying that he was under qualified for the position. In a release yesterday, the Government said that Parke’s decision to resign was based on sparing the Court any exposure that a trial on the issue of his tenure would create. While Peyreffitte is disappointed with Parke’s resignation, he says that he respects the reason why Parke resigned.
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General of Belize: “I personally don’t feel like he 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 examination 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 judgments 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 allegations against him that he knew to be false so with that he decided in the best interest of the judiciary and in the best interested in the adminstration of justice that he would resign.”
Reporter: Do you still maintain that Franz Parke was the man for the job?
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General of Belize: “No indeed he was the man for the job and people tend to forget in around 2014 or 2015 he was appointed as a court of appeal judge for Belize; there was no objection then, there was no noise then so the question is why was there noise now ? I mean we felt that this was an individual who had sat on the court before whom had been sworn in seamlessly there was no threat of any going after him or having any difficulties with his appointment so we thought that it would have been a shoe in- what could be the difficulty now if you didn’t have any difficulties then and supposedly what you’re irresponsibly accusing him of was there before he was appointed a few years ago so we were at a loss as to why you would go through all of that now. But then again with the opposition anything is possible.”
Franz’s resignation created a vacancy on the Court of Appeal but Even though, the court is in recess and will not resume duties until next year March, Peyrefitte says that a replacement must be sought for urgently.
Michael Peyrefitte, Attorney General of Belize: “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 there will be objections to it by the opposition and by Eamon Courtney and by whatever. We know that they will object for the sake of objecting but what it is is what it is.”
Other than the PUP, the Belize National Teacher’s Union had also expressed opposition to Parke’s appointment.