Fri | Aug 17, 2018

Daniel Thwaites | Put Al on Matthew's case

Published:Sunday | October 2, 2016 | 12:00 AM

By the time you're reading this, I'm hoping the storm will have tracked off course.

But with the news last Friday that Matthew was skipping up the measures of potential destructiveness and was a strengthening Category 4 hurricane steaming towards Jamaica, I'm in enough of a panic to humbly ask the Rev Al Miller to get back to the prayer work and redirect the storm.

I'm not afraid to say sorry and beg a 'bly'. Please, Al, send it to go and mash up somewhere else.

In fact, I'm freely admitting that I may need to revise certain doubts and disbeliefs. It can't be mere coincidence that this storm named after Matthew the Evangelist appeared in the Caribbean so soon after Al's conviction in court and subsequent thrashing in the court of public opinion. Perceptive observers will know that 'sump'm inna sump'm'.

And just like Al has changed his mind and decided to appeal his conviction, I'm changing my mind and sending up an appeal to Whoever he can talk to on our behalf. Al may be wrong and strong, but Matthew is stronger and wronger. I don't care anymore about the police chase down the highway after Jamaica's O.J. Simpson. If the prayer works, it works. So (in my best Johnny Cochrane voice), if the hurricane doesn't hit, you must acquit!

Speaking of diverting the storm, it's not that I want to wish crosses on to Cuba or Haiti, but let's face it: Cuba is better organised, and Haiti would get lots more money from international donors so that the Red Cross people can go there and have another ball. Remember the horrific earthquake that devastated Haiti in 2010? They raised a half-billion US dollars and managed to build six houses out of it. Six!

But even so, I'm pardoning Cuba and Haiti. So Bredda Al, don't even look that side.




I mean, it's invidious to be forced to suggest a target, but I want to be very specific with the request to Rev Al. So here goes: All things considered, I'm proposing the Dominican Republic. They have been getting up to some fiendish behaviour recently, and it warrants a good cleansing. In 2013, their Supreme Court essentially made all Dominicans of Haitian descent born since 1930 stateless. Now pause and think about that for a moment. Not even Dudus waan drive go desso.

On the other hand, I know we have such a serious murderous disaster going on in Montego Bay that it fairly can be said that cataclysm is already upon us. Could that be why the eye of the storm is on the other end of the island? Or is that Al is aiming at the doubting St Thomases? I don't know. I'm just asking the obvious questions.

To be honest, I have always been of the view that Al was acting on orders from a higher power and saying, "Here I am, Lord!", at least in the Driving Miss Dudus matter. But he has steadfastly refused to divulge exactly who that might be, even when everyone has their suspicions. Let's just say that the ordering overlord would have known that Dudus was in St Ann and would have had the wherewithal to provide Al with instructions, safe passage through any of Dudus' bodyguards, and a car.

Well, apparently, it would be another storm if Al would actually come clean. And I'm willing to entertain the idea that maybe the country can't manage even another one right now.

Actually, and in all seriousness, had I believed Al a few years ago when he said he had directed the path of a hurricane away from the island, I would be now forced to draw the conclusion that it's his fault the nation is currently under threat. After all, to have such a power is to also to assume a tremendous responsibility.




Of course, a real concern is not just the storm but also the aftermath when civilised society could very well take a little holiday. Roads become impassable, the police and emergency services are stretched to capacity, and the weak become acutely vulnerable.

When that happens, there are countless acts of generosity and kindness, but also the potential for much havoc. And although it is unpleasant to contemplate such things, a little alarm may hasten preparation.

I can't forget being in New York in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy when gasolene and coffee, the two basic necessities of modern life became scarce. Within nanoseconds, there were fights happening in the long lines stretching outside the gas stations. It was a stark reminder that civilised behaviour is a paper-thin veneer on some very animalistic impulses. I myself had to consider direct intervention and even a declaration of jihad when an infidel cut off my access in the coffee line.

More dramatically, I have an ex-army friend - a barbarian - whose children had raised concerns about his unwillingness to head to the supermarket and stock up. He had to patiently explain to them the fundamentals of political science outside of Christian and civilised prohibition. Essentially, he let them know that should society collapse, it wouldn't really matter that he didn't have cans and dried goods, because the neighbours had lots, and they would be certain to 'share'.

Now looking at our own home, it's quite clear that the State isn't particularly strong and effective, and anarchy is never too far from the surface, even when the weather is perfectly fine.

This is why, Al's prayers and benedictions notwithstanding, I'm wishing us all luck and issuing the reminder that the Good Lord helps those who help themselves.

- Daniel Thwaites is an attorney-at-law. Email feedback to