Posted: Wednesday, October 4, 2017. 5:18 PM. CST.
By BBN Staff: Franz Parke, the Jamaican attorney selected by the Prime Minister to serve as a judge on the Court of Appeal which has caused an uproar of opposition because of questions regarding his qualifications, has a questionable past of his own.
As the People’s United Party (PUP) prepares to mount a legal challenge against the government over Parke’s appointment, BBN has learned that in 2000, while working as a prosecutor for the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s office in the US, Parke was the focus of an inter-agency investigation.
According to the report from Miami based media-outlet the Sun Sentinel, Parke was the focus of a joint state and federal investigation, of which the Drug Enforcement Agency was aware. Authorities at the time shared very little details regarding the incident with the press. The article also noted he had not been arrested but alluded that the investigation may have been of a criminal nature given the DEA’s interest in the case and questions about whether Parke had been arrested.
Parke had already been on leave for over a month at the time the article was written, pending the investigation.
The investigation, however, seems to have never materialized but Parke left the Attorney’s Office a year later and started private practice. The controversy over Parke’s appointment to the court of appeal began with questions over his qualifications being that he has very limited knowledge of Caribbean law, though he has been an attorney in the US for over two decades. Critics have pointed out 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.
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.
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