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LETTER OF THE DAY - Al Miller should be congratulated

Published:Thursday | June 24, 2010 | 12:00 AM

 The Editor, Sir:

By defusing the stalemate between the security forces and Jamaica's most wanted Christopher 'Dudus' Coke, Rev Al Miller, representing the Church, performed a job, not exactly outside his jurisdiction, in helping to fight crime, and the security forces should take stock of their incompetence.

The man of the cloth was an effective crime-fighting instrument, and the Government should not succumb to political knee-jerk reactions and scapegoat the good reverend. Instead, he should be congratulated - he did a good job.

It will take creativity to win the country's efforts against crime, and the blazing guns of the security forces that took so many lives did not bring down Mr Coke. One lesson: The Church and State must work together to solve Jamaica's crime problem. And since trust is a wide gap between the security forces and the people, the Government should take this opportunity to create avenues for criminals and fugitives to turn themselves over to men and women of the cloth, who seem more trustworthy than the security forces.

Obviously, Church and State must not be fused. But I implore Rev Miller, with sanction from the Government, to draft a manual on how the Church can usefully engage in negotiations with future dons. Until Jamaica's present social and political machinery is disassembled and upgraded, there will be more Mr Cokes.

As for those arguing against the way Rev Al Miller handled his knowledge of Mr Coke's whereabouts before and during the state of emergency, he may not have worked explicitly with the security forces. Remember, he was doing his job as a man of the Church, not of the State. Another lesson: In its attempt to apprehend Mr Coke, significant state powers were transferred to the security forces and many lives were lost, some innocent, but Mr Coke was still at large. Fighting crime must be done using intelligence, not just brute force.

Exemplary negotiating skills

In times like these, one reflects on one of the essentials of Sun Tzu's The Art Of War; successful battles are won before they are fought with the taking of only few lives. Therefore, planning and subverting the enemy are necessary ingredients, but does the Jamaica Defence Force know this?

So, notwithstanding the $5-million bounty that was on Mr Coke's head, Rev Al Miller demonstrated good judgment and negotiating skills required to hand over the don to the security forces without further bloodshed. The success of Rev Miller's tactics compared with the security forces operation in Tivoli Gardens opens a new chapter in Jamaica's crime-fighting story.

I am, etc.,


Ontario, Canada