Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Gerry Gallimore | Don't crucify Al over Dudus

Published:Wednesday | August 10, 2016 | 8:00 AMGerry Gallimore

I have read in The Gleaner that Pastor Dr Merrick 'Al' Miller has been found guilty, with reference to the Christopher 'Dudus' Coke case. This verdict, along with the comments of the judge as recorded in your report, has brought me much distress and concern. I am of the opinion that justice has not been served.

While I don't pretend to know everything regarding this case, I do know Dr Al Miller very well. He and I sat down and had a long chat shortly after his arrest back in 2011. Over the intervening years, we have conversed on this matter a number of times. I believed what he shared with me initially in 2011, and believe in him still.

After I read some of what came out in the West Kingston Commission of Enquiry, I felt very sure that not only would Pastor Miller be acquitted, but that he would be commended for his courageous act of public service. His challenging and sterling role may have saved the nation considerable bloodshed inasmuch as single-handedly, without any loss of life, he was bringing the fugitive to surrender to the US Embassy, fulfilling the demand for extradition.

In the noble tradition of the Christian prophets and of our national heroes whose life-changing legacies we celebrate at this time, God sometimes moves His servants to disregard their personal safety so as to secure a greater good for the nation. Are we, in 2016, going to indict servants of God, like Sam Sharpe and Paul Bogle, all over again? In that noble tradition, Dr Al Miller was exemplifying the Christian's prophetic role to be salt and light to the community.

 

Honourable intentions

 

I totally respect and rejoice in the fact that at a very difficult time in the life of the nation, Pastor Al Miller put himself at considerable risk to play a role that many other leaders probably would not consider, probably would not be capable of doing, or would be too scared to do.

I am of the opinion that Pastor Al Miller's intentions were honourable trying to protect the accused, providing him safe passage to the US Embassy, and, in face of the terrible massacre, saving the society from possibly more bloodshed.

It seems clear that for whatever reason, the court must not have taken into account the relevant revelations/conclusions of the commission. This concerns me.

I am concerned as well that it has taken the court all of six years to arrive at a verdict.

Those who know Pastor Al Miller see him not as an enemy of the State, but rather as an advocate for justice, a committed servant of God acting as an emissary of peace to prevent further bloodshed. As the record will show, this was not the first time that Pastor Miller had acted in the public interest in bringing in fugitives.

I trust that the honourable judge, in the interest of justice, will take the mitigating circumstances into consideration and in handing down judgment, will, alongside an understandable rebuke, commend this servant of God for acting so courageously in the public interest.

- Pastor Dr Gerry Gallimore is a former president and CEO of Youth for Christ International. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com and gerrygallimore@att.net.