Rev Al: bishop or pawn?

Jamaica Gleaner - - OPINION & COMMENTARY -

This is the fi­nal in a se­ries of col­umns on the Rev Al Miller’s au­di­tion to play the lead role in Mor­gan Free­man’s biopic.

IT’S TIME to pull all that we know to­gether and use our lat­eral think­ing skills to work out what re­ally hap­pened. I re­alise many out there be­lieve I’m kick­ing Rev Al when he’s down. How­ever, since Al hasn’t ad­mit­ted that he’s down, maybe his eyes also need open­ing like a 10-day-old puppy’s. Be­fore read­ing on, best prac­tice would be to first re­view my pre­vi­ous three col­umns ‘For­ward in re­verse’ (Septem­ber 18); ‘Al and Herro’s Ex­cel­lent Ad­ven­ture’ (Septem­ber 20); and ‘... If you be­lieve Al Miller’ (Sun­day, Septem­ber 25). As your eyes start to func­tion, you’ll see that no­body’s beating up on Rev Al. Al was a mere pawn in a chess game when he thought he was a bishop. What we’re try­ing to do is shine the light of truth on the most de­spi­ca­ble se­ries of events in Ja­maican his­tory which didn’t be­gin (but ended) with Al’s driv­ing of Miss Daisy.

The fol­low­ing chronol­ogy is put to­gether us­ing Al’s state­ments only:

As ten­sions in West Kingston grew in May 2010, Rev Al of­fered to use his in­flu­ence as a pas­tor to try to ‘talk down’ Dudus into sur­ren­der rather than re­sis­tance. His of­fer was ac­cepted by the po­lice com­mis­sioner and the prime min­is­ter.

SEV­ERAL TIVOLI VIS­ITS

Al made sev­eral vis­its to Tivoli, met with Dudus, but was un­suc­cess­ful in his mis­sion. A blood­bath en­sued. In the early af­ter­math, Al was in­stru­men­tal, with the co­op­er­a­tion of the po­lice, in sur­ren­der­ing mem­bers of Dudus’ fam­ily (‘per­sons of in­ter­est’), in­clud­ing Leighton ‘Liv­ity’ Coke; and San­dra Coke. On each oc­ca­sion, Al made con­tact with the po­lice and ce­mented ar­range­ments BE­FORE bring­ing them in.

It seems that some­time af­ter the blood­bath, Rev Al ob­tained po­lice per­mis­sion to is­sue a pub­lic ap­peal to Dudus for Al to as­sist him if he wished to sur­ren­der.

Al says he was con­tacted by a stranger who pur­ported to speak for Dudus.

Al tried to con­tact the po­lice com­mis­sioner with­out suc­cess. He says he con­tacted the US Em­bassy but NO DE­CI­SION was made re­gard­ing Dudus’ sur­ren­der.

At the stranger’s (and other strangers’) re­quest, Al sur­ren­dered his car keys (a 2007 Toy­ota; untinted win­dows) and cell phone and was driven by these strangers to a St Ann lo­ca­tion, where he waited for Dudus.

When Dudus ap­peared, he asked to be trans­ported to the US Em­bassy. This was the first time Al had been asked by Dudus or any­one on his be­half to go to the Em­bassy. Al im­me­di­ately agreed to trans­port Dudus in a strange car with tinted win­dows. Dudus was dis­guised in fe­male wig and dark glasses but Al says he didn’t no­tice.

The po­lice say they tried to stop Al (us­ing sirens and flash­ing lights) from the vicin­ity of Wind­sor Av­enue but he wasn’t forced to stop un­til some­where on Man­dela High­way. Al de­nies this but ad­mits he was in­ter­cepted by the po­lice. Dudus was taken into cus­tody. No­body knows why Al wasn’t ar­rested on the spot. Maybe he told the po­lice he had the com­mis­sioner’s per­mis­sion to take Dudus to the em­bassy. Later that same day, the po­lice sent for Al and ar­rested him. He has since been tried, found to be “less than can­did” by the judge, con­victed of at­tempt­ing to per­vert the course of jus­tice, and fined $1 mil­lion.

Now you tell me, if you found your­self in that sit­u­a­tion, would you give up your cell phone and car keys and jump in a strange car driven by strangers? Would you then drive Dudus wher­ever he had asked with­out any pre­ar­range­ment with the po­lice? Are you a com­plete mo­ron? No? Well, nei­ther is Al. So here’s the thing. I be­lieve some­body he trusted told him to ex­pect the call and asked him to do as he was told. There’s no other ra­tio­nal ex­pla­na­tion. Al’s ret­i­cence at his ‘tell-all’ press con­fer­ence, prob­a­bly af­ter re­ceiv­ing a del­uge of calls ask­ing him NOT to go ahead with it, can only mean he’s pro­tect­ing that trusted some­body.

Al, it’s time to re­pent and be can­did with Ja­maica. WHO re­ally made these ar­range­ments with you?

WHO got you to sur­ren­der all con­trol over your cir­cum­stances and do as you were told by Dudus and crew, no mat­ter the risk? Only the truth, the whole truth and noth­ing but the truth can set you free from sus­pi­cion and dis­re­spect. Tell ALL, Al. NOW!

Peace and love.

JER­MAINE BARN­ABY/FREE­LANCE PHO­TOG­RA­PHER

Al Miller is re­flec­tive dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Septem­ber 20.

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