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JAM | Nov 19, 2023

Al Miller | Apology for Dudus situation and the power to heal  

/ Our Today

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Prominent Jamaican clergy, Reverend Al Miller.

A good apology is like an antibiotic… (Randy Pausch)

For those who are too young to know or remember, please allow me to stir your minds. 

Wikipedia records that “In 2009, the United States first asked the Jamaican government for the extradition of [Christopher] Coke on drug trafficking charges. Bruce Golding, the prime minister of Jamaica and leader of the Jamaica Labour Party, initially refused to extradite Coke.

 He claimed that the US had used warrantless wiretapping to gather evidence on Coke…. But PM Golding [eventually] relented and the government issued a warrant for Coke’s arrest…. Coke was detained during a routine roadblock while trying to reach the US Embassy in Kingston for surrender. He attempted to disguise himself as a woman, wearing a woman’s wig and possessing a second one and a pair of women’s sunglasses….  Reverend Al Miller, an influential evangelical priest, was also detained while trying to facilitate the surrender. Miller told police Coke feared for his life if he surrendered directly to the police, and [he] was asked for aid by Coke. Miller had previously facilitated the surrender of Coke’s brother one month earlier.”

It was a challenging and costly ordeal which ended in an unjust charge and fine.  But in retrospect, a necessary path. For firstly, I believe that God allowed me to suffer the experience of going through the justice system to taste the injustice that exists at times within the justice system so that I could better continue to fight the cause of justice for all, especially the poor.  For we all agree that justice and truth are the main pillar on which we build our nation as our anthem declares.

In this May 2010 photo, Jamaica Defence Force soldiers positioned at Kingston Waterfront was quite busy as they prepare to move into Tivoli Gardens and Denham Town.

Then secondly, I must admit that as my physical and spiritual family and I endured the ordeal, we felt wounded and hurt by the manner in which some church leaders responded to the situation, in both the public and private domains.  We experienced the truth of Robert Brault’s statement that “Life becomes easier when you learn to accept an apology you never got.”  

We learned to accept and continue our calling of facilitating God’s Kingdom and His Will done here on earth as it is in heaven. Then on Sunday, November 5, 2023, we received a blessing from God through the kind words of a brother and Bishop, Neville Owens, who attended a Commitment & Dedication meeting that we had at Fellowship Tabernacle.

His words still heal like an antibiotic. He said: “This day could not end without a public apology.  We have hurt you…. We have said and done things … we have made utterances, we have broken covenant, we have violated trust [and] we have left you exposed when we should have galvanized you and undergirded you and supported you….  “We have left you wounded and scared on the Samaritan way…. So the Lord said He would wave away the reproach of Egypt [and] may the Lord roll away the reproach from Al Miller — accusations, insinuations — and may the Lord lift all burdens from your shoulder….”

I formally, on behalf of my family and the Fellowship Tabernacle community, express deep appreciation to the church community for the apology extended, led by Bishop Neville Owens, on behalf of the ICJ and many leaders of other groups and churches across the nation, some of whom also called. Sincere thanks to all. I and many others were moved to tears by the healing power of the apology.

Let me take this opportunity to say to the many who have had unanswered questions and wondered if there was any unsavory activity in Mr. Coke’s surrender. Be assured that previous dialogue with all relevant authorities had occurred about his surrender, the US Embassy was informed and agreed to accept his handover (surrender) and know that there was no attempt to elude the police, neither was there any speed chase with the police. It was a smooth handover. 

Mugshot of Jamaican drug lord, Christopher ‘Dudus’ Coke. (Photo: Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation)

My regret and apologies for any disappointment caused to some from the misinformation communicated to the public, which resulted in misunderstandings.

Now similar to the impact of the apology in helping to provide healing for many in the church community, a forum for truth and forgiveness would help to heal the wounded souls of our nation, which I believe is a major contributor to the worsening crime, cold and callous violence destroying our nation, wounds which for the most part we try to ignore as we attempt to accept apologies that were never offered.  A wounded nation is still hurting, even though some were wounded in the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, etc., as our country wrestled philosophical, political, financial and gang related differences. The passing of time does not often heal wounds, apology does

May the church, as it did for me, lead in creating a forum for healing of the wounds of our nation.  Special appreciation to Bishop Herro Blair and Dr. Henley Morgan, who stood with me throughout this journey. We certainly have more work to do, my brothers, in healing the wounds of our nation.

I also give thanks to God for the timing of this, as it facilitates a better atmosphere and allows for clarity as we are actively working on the pursuit of the completion of my Divine assignment to assist the work of the transformation of our nation.

We have reviewed and been doing much work on the previously church-led initiative through the Build Jamaica Foundation of long ago and are again engaging all sectors in a renewed and restructured transformation process dubbed “Jamaica Reimagined.”

This effort proposes that we commit as a nation to make Jamaica 60-70 a decade of National Reconstruction, the end of which is to see the preferred Jamaica emerge. We solicit your fullest support.

A section of the Tivoli Gardens community in downtown Kingston. (Photo: OpenEdition Journals)

Our greatest days are ahead of us. The saga of the ordeal has been challenging seemed to cause delay in the positive transformation of our nation.  Yet it only serves to prepare for a better end and for this I give thanks. For all things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose.


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