A tribute to Sir Albert Joel Miller

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August 31, 2015

Dear Editor, I regret that my travel prevents Delores and I from joining the family, friends and many others as you celebrate and remember the life of a great Bahamian, Albert Miller, and to bid him final farewell. It has been my enormous fortune to have known Albert Miller, to have counted him among my most valued counsellors and advisors and to have been called friend by him. We shared a common love of the sea and of fishing; he was a good fisherman; our fishing exploits were friendly but competitive. I will remember them fondly.

He was a proud son of Long Island who was shaped in our nation's capital most particularly by The Royal Bahamas Police Force where he rose to the rank of deputy commissioner and where he would certainly have further excelled if given the opportunity to lead the force. Alas, that was not to be, remaining one of his life's regrets. He realized his full potential in the private sector in his adopted home island of Grand Bahama, rising to become one of the triumvirate, along with Sir Jack Hayward and Edward St. George, who marshalled the development of Freeport, realizing in the closing years of the last century, the dream of the city's founders to make Freeport a premier transshipment centre.

The list of his many accomplishments as president and director of important private sector companies, including the Grand Bahama Port Authority and its group of companies and as a member and leader of civic and non-profit organizations is impressive, attesting to his full engagement in public life.

But for those who knew the private man he was the unassuming soul given to hard work, with great respect for discipline and order. I was especially fortunate to gain his agreement to serve as chairman of important public corporations during my first two terms in office, when he headed both The Bahamas Electricity Corporation and then the Bahamas Telecommunications Corporation during periods when my governments sought to modernize and introduce private sector efficiencies into the public sector.

I remain ever grateful for his service. Freeport was always in the forefront of his thoughts. In recent times, whether he was having a good or a bad day, he lamented its current economic condition. His contribution to our national development was fortunately recognized and acknowledged in his lifetime as he was a recipient of the Queen's Police Medal, The Colonial Police Medal and the Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order. I was pleased to initiate a process leading to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II appointing him in 2002 a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and Saint George. Albert Miller led an extraordinary life.

In addition to his tremendous professional success he was a dedicated family man who cherished his wife, Laurie, Lady Miller and dearly loved their three children, Russell, Debbie and Anthony. I remember vividly sharing this year's New Year's Day meal with him and his family along with Alvin Smith, Ronnie Knowles and Terrence Gape. He told us how grateful he was for his accomplishments in life, for his family and friends.

He was a man of great courage. He accepted that medications were only slowing the progress of his ailments but would not cure him. He assured us that he was comfortable with his mortality; fully prepared for death. He said that it would be his last Christmas season on earth and hence his last with us. He was particularly pleased with how Debbie had decorated the house for the Yuletide season, commenting several times on the festive dinner table she had set. He repeated many times: "I love Christmas".

Today we acknowledge his family's personal loss but also acknowledge the loving care they showered on him as his health declined and his quality of life decreased over these past many months. During my visits with Sir Albert as he rested at home I could not but marvel at the kind and loving attention that his family and his attentive nurse, Ana Hall, took to make him as comfortable as possible.

His was a life fully lived and his passing represents a loss to his family and his many friends and to our country. We will miss him. Delores joins with me in extending sincere condolences to you, Lady Miller, to the children and to the grandchildren and the entire family. May he rest in peace.- Hubert A. Ingraham

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News date : 08/31/2015    Category : Letters, Nassau Guardian Stories

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