John Fuller Lawyer Of The People


By Makeda Mikael

Now that John is gone, I can praise him and expose him without his brush-off!


He would enjoy the joke that it is fashionable these days to talk about people when they are dead!


Over the past days we have heard many stories of John Eli Fuller from all quarters of the island and beyond.


But John was ‘worse than yaws’ a term he used lovingly to describe a lot of the people he had to defend. John had much in common with his clients of the lowest strata of criminals by need, or by mistaken identity, or just circumstance, they used whatever they had to get what they wanted, and he wanted them to get off!

John was the lawyer of those who had no representation, and clearly in need, and he was the lawyer who understood that the business of lawyering started with charity, and he provided it.


In the early days of Rastafari revelation in Antigua the white lawyer guy and the Rasta getting locked up for just a spliff were a common site in the Magistrates Courts on Antigua. But when the lawyer opened his mouth, he spouted English law from one side of his mouth and raw Antiguan from the other, he was a sample!

Visiting Fuller Chambers sometimes looked like an ex-con reunion waiting for the Don to return from Court, as young men who were jail-branded for a spliff or a ‘likkle weed’ were checking to see if Fuller could get a little job or a ‘top up’. John, knowing they could never get a job and be forced to repeat lock up did his best to help then get back into the world.

One would not be fair to John if his cussing and ‘bad wud’ did not form a great part of his delivery, even in Court if he could get away with it and get his client off at the same time.


It was well known that John Fuller would do anything to get his clients off, especially if they had a hard life and upbringing, even if they were guilty, he would beg off time and, more times than not he would trigger the discretion of the Magistrates and Judges.

John Fuller was an unique creature of his time and not replaceable by even a well-meaning Government Prosecution Division; he was so effective and so good because he did it from the goodness of his heart.


And his heart when not in Court fighting for good, was wandering around the island looking for archeological artifacts of those who were here before, or in Barbuda his not so secret love!

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  1. Makeda John was indeed a great human being and a very good lawyer. You remembrance of him is quite apt and honest and I must confess that I in fact did learn a few good “bad wuds” from him. Yes those “bad wuds” add colour to the English Language.

  2. After all the wonderful tributes to John, especially his son Eli (ANR 9/30/21) where he represented very well and soulful with truth and honesty the Fuller family, allow this perspective.
    John E.Fuller was born and passed over a FREE MAN who gave his love of humanity to family, friends, associates, colleagues, clients, and in total A&B and the Caribbean people and did not ask for anything in return.The result was he positively impacted many lives. He was a free man in white skin and black consciousness, the complete opposite of what the author Frantz Fannon titled, Black Skin, White Masks and John’s advocacy for the Wretched of the Earth, borrowed from another title. So how did this happen and why?
    In a nutshell, his white american parents started John on this journey at Dutchmans Bay. At birth he was free, connected to Nature, sun, sea and sand and affirmed his freedom as he developed livelihood skills at Dutchmans Bay and on the Caribbean sea. It’s conceivable that John spent more time at sea than on land during his life.
    You would see his charming mother driving John and siblings in the back of a pickup truck in St.John’s, no shirt , barefoot, only shorts. His mother would be wearing a comfortable sun dress, slippers, never makeup and sometimes with a child on her hip, taking care of business. His father, Nick (sr) when you saw him was wearing a. Tshirt, shorts, sunglasses with a cigar. Nick (sr) was “Mr. Cool””,one of Antiigua’s ‘o
    riginal ‘white gangsta’.He was smart, intelligent, tough, well connected in U.S.A., and the Caribbean, entrepreneur famous in A&B for Lord Nelson hotel and Bucket-O’-Blood nightclub.
    Now remember John experienced the black power, anti-colonialism, social and political upheavals in the Caribbean, U.S.A. and UK, so his formative and professional education together with life’s experiences prepared him for effective advocacy and legal profession. Unforgivingly, he was free of racial identity, restrictions and limitations of finance, politics, culture and any kind of intellectual inferiority.
    As a lawyer in the theater of the court, John feigned deafness or hard of hearing to laugh with and at the purveyors, me lords in black robes and erstwhile wigs, of british imperial jurisprudence and values that were deliberately intended for the colonists to ‘know their place and stay in their place’, espoused as ‘the rule of (their) law’. He was equipped with powerful tools and weapons of knowledge and intellectual capacity to communicate in Standard English and other languages with the highfalutin speakers and also used language others considered vulgar, substandard, below them and a bastardization of English vocabulary.
    John didn’t ask for or want approval but was interested only in his advocacy of truth and the freedom of his clients to pursue better lives.
    It is no surprise that he spent much time searching for archaeological items to find the true evidence of our history. During his life he traveled a road in search of truth.
    John truly manifested his life in the words of Marcus Mosiah Garvey:
    “God and Nature first made us what we are, and then out of our own created genius, we make ourselves what we want to be. Follow always that great law. Let the sky and God be our limit and Eternity our measurement.”
    John was a FREE MAN in mind, body and a spirit of eternal goodness.
    So now Rastaman Chant:
    I say fly away home to Zion (fly away home)
    I say fly away home to Zion (sail away home to Barbuda, John and Ralph)
    One bright morning when my (your) work is over
    Man (you) will fly (sail) away home.

    Condolences and blessings to ALL!!

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