Wed | Aug 23, 2017

Daniel Thwaites | Driving Miss Dudus

Published:Sunday | September 18, 2016 | 9:00 AM

I can remember when Dudus was liberated from Rev Al Miller. It was just like the movies, and I'm not just talking about Driving Miss Daisy. Remember in Robin Hood, Friar Tuck, the happy cleric, helps out Robin. There's also that part where Robin puts on a costume to go check his girlfriend, Maid Marian. So in keeping with the Hollywood script, I'm not sure about the story that Miss Dudus and Al heading towards the US Embassy. For all we know, he may have been going to check a comely maiden.

It was high drama. I was astonished, for instance, that the security forces brought Dudus in alive. Prior to that, and perhaps unfairly, I had assumed that Dudus would know so much about some of them, and would have been the repository of so many secrets of West Kingston, that there would be enormous incentive for him to meet the fate of his father.

His live delivery was further proof, as if that were needed after the West Kingston incursion, that some serious stuff was going down and that our law enforcement was being closely observed from overseas. When under surveillance, we tend to do well and behave better.

Anyway, however watertight the operation, it wasn't so secure that a few photos weren't leaked. And when those pictures emerged, the whole deadly serious operation that laid waste to nearly 70 lives turned out to also be enormously farcical in a way captured only by Bounty's musing, "if smaddy did ah tell mi, mi woulda seh 'a lie!'"

 

riding shotgun

 

Dudus, it turned out, was captured bewigged and bespectacled, riding shotgun to one of our most recognisable and omnipresent political parsons. The Jamaican President wasn't only a fugitive, but a cross-dresser - a fugitive cross-dresser. Say what you want about that whole situation, but being grateful for small mercies, I've always been low-key thankful to Rev Al for bringing this piece of humour into my life.

The subsequent charge for attempting to pervert the course of justice isn't the only legal issue that has bedevilled the star Rev. At another time, he had stopped to pick some plums in a dodgy area when his firearm was stolen, leading to a negligence conviction. This teaches us that however much the reverend puts his trust in the Word, he is also suitably armed for combat with a six-shooter. God helps those who help themselves!

You may be wondering, legitimately, if one parson can so salt. Wouldn't a sea bath or some dousing with holy water take care of all this? Not so. Apparently it takes tremendous powers, miraculous (divine!) intervention, and mystical interference to keep the malevolent forces at bay.

All of which is more confirmation of my settled view that clergymen should avoid politics. Politics is a nasty business from start to finish, and you can't be Mr Saturday night and Mr Sunday Morning. One must choose.

Anyway, Rev Al promptly paid his $1-million fine before being whisked away in a Hummer. Frankly, that kind of sentence is just further comedy. A super-pastor like Al ought to generate a million in a single Sunday service of feverish preaching.

The problem here, I believe, is that the laws don't stay current with the steady devaluation of the dollar. It is a serious matter, because it makes the law into something of an ass. We will either have to arrest the constant devaluations, denominate fines in US dollars (or Chinese yen, if it makes us feel less colonised), or, what is more likely, find a mechanism for constant readjustment of legal penalties.

The manhunt for Al and Dudus

certainly cost taxpayers more than a million, so inevitably, the question of adequate restitution arises. I have a suggestion. You may recall that Rev Al took credit in the past for praying away hurricanes and other natural disasters. Hence I would be grateful if he would continue to fulfil that aspect of his

public ministry.

 

tragic hero

 

Shockingly, there is commentary that would make Rev Al the victim of this situation. Other commentary makes him out to be a tragic hero, doomed because his pastoral principle ran headlong into law enforcement.

That is why the begging for Rev Al put down by some of his pastor colleagues is puzzling. If Rev Al was breaking secular law in a glorious and principled act of civil disobedience, he should accept secular law's punishment. In fact, he may want to celebrate it and bear witness as a heroic martyr.

Action taken in pursuit of deep religious conviction would require accepting the consequences of that action. He did, after all, know what he was doing.

On another note, the finding of guilt seems to have shocked some other learned clergymen. Listening to some of them pleading for Rev Al, it struck me that nowadays the expectation of mercy, even without contrition, seems to have swallowed up the application of justice. They apparently wanted the judge to just let Al walk free. But

surely justice and a contrite heart are logical precursors to clemency. And Al Miller has shown no contrition for his sin. In fact, as a purveyor of repentance, he has shown himself to be most unrepentant in his declaration that he'd do it again.

However that may be, the law serves a denunciatory purpose as well. And the finding of guilt, plus the application of punishment, will hopefully advise future clergymen to be cautious with the politics, and cautious with transporting wanted fugitives, and if not that much, at least cautious about consorting with cross-dressers.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.