THE EDITOR, Sir:
When I sat down yesterday morning to drink my coffee and read the Sunday newspapers, I thought, when I read your competitor’s headline story, that I was dreaming.
Even after a few hours, I was still unable to rationalise what entered the heads of those in charge of the Sunday Observer that led them to the decision to disclose that Vybz Kartel had allegedly offered assistance to the police. The article stated that Kartel was trying to broker a deal to either have the charges against him dropped or to have his cooperation taken into consideration by the court.
Apart from the obvious consequences of a serious risk to Kartel in prison, there are the wider ramifications of the risk of violence to his family.
Did the editor decide to put the value of publishing a ‘good story’ above the risks to all those involved? Unless there is a public interest angle that has escaped me, it seems that they decided to squeeze one more Kartel front page out with the sole motivation of selling copies rather than choosing to examine the consequences of their actions.
The proof of this statement is that they clearly went through a thought process because they did not publish the name of the author of their article.
On another level, what was the motivation of the ‘highly placed police source’ who gave details of this revelation to the press? It certainly was not to protect the integrity of the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) or consider the risks to those involved.
I know that many of the professional men and women of the JCF with whom I have worked will be equally horrified by this story, and I hope that they will join me in demanding that the commissioner of police order a thorough investigation to try to identify the source of this article.
So much good work is done behind the scenes by the JCF and despite the constant flow of attacks on their reputation, some of which are justifiable, the source has single-handedly undermined the community’s trust and confidence in the police service.
Finally, I would like to make it clear that I hold no candle for Vybz Kartel. My motivation is based on the principle that Jamaica needs to ensure that the standards of journalism remain at a level that do not put people’s lives at risk for the sake of a ‘good’ story.
Former Deputy Commissioner of Police