Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Reverend Al Miller betrayed

Published:Saturday | September 17, 2016 | 9:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

The worst that should have happened to Fellowship Tabernacle pastor Al Miller following his conviction for attempting to pervert the course of justice is that he should have been admonished and discharged. Though he was spared being sent to prison, he should not have even been fined.

This long-held view has been reinforced in my mind by post-trial comments from Al Miller's attorney, Jacqueline Samuels-Brown, and Herro Blair, former political ombudsman, on Nationwide FM's 5 p.m. news package Thursday.

The attorney criticised former Police Commissioner Owen Ellington for refusing to testify at the trial despite having information that would have been helpful to the defence. Bishop Blair said he was "incensed" at the outcome, knowing, as he did, that Dudus was found in a car driven by Al Miller, because the pastor was responding, in good faith, to a request, purportedly from the police hierarchy for assistance in getting Dudus to turn himself in to the Jamaican police or to the US authorities.

 

COULD HAVE BEEN BLAIR

 

What's more, he said, the assistant police commissioner at the time was also fully aware of the arrangement in which Blair had also been asked to participate, and which could easily have resulted in his being exposed and charged, as Al Miller was.

He expressed the view that Al Miller had been "betrayed" by the former police commissioner.

In light of the above, one is inclined to question even the hitherto apparently 'not unreasonable', hard-line position taken by the judge that Al Miller was being "less than forthright" (during the trial) and that he was, at least technically, legally, and/or circumstantially "GUILTY as charged".

And with Nationwide reporting Owen Ellington's continued refusal to comment on these revelations by Al Miller and by Herro Blair, other questions now come to mind, like what's the true story behind the former commissioner's sudden resignation and virtual disappearance from public view/access?

When all the facts are reviewed and objectively considered, it may very well be that Al Miller should not only be "admonished and discharged". At worst, it may be that he should actually be pardoned and honoured, nationally, for being a catalyst, at least, in perverting the course of injustice.

If the society and the authorities fail to do justice in this case, for fear of partisan accusations (again) of "defending, or pursuing justice (only) for special people" - as the Bruce Golding administration was accused of doing for Dudus - we should NOT be surprised if the fear, suspicion and perception of endemic INJUSTICE continue to make accused or suspected felons unwilling to voluntarily surrender to local judicial authorities, directly.

Despite self-righteous calls for Rev Miller to resign as leader of Fellowship Tabernacle and mealy-mouthed protestations of concern for technical/legal/moral high ground, we should also not be surprised if, even with increasing demand for pastoral intervention to assist the police and minimise judicial murder and mayhem, there is either a severe shortage or total absence of pastors, clergymen, et al, willing to take the risk.

C.A. GORDON

carltongor@gmail.com

Kingston 10