How much truth for public is too much?

THE EDITOR: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help you God? Words made famous by our crime-fighting favourites like CSI and Law and Order. However, the question remains as to how much of the truth is the public entitled? Should we consider that there are some aspects of truth that are not for public information, especially in matters involving national security?

We have seen reports of the kidnapping of a relative of Minister Stuart Young. Having never personally experienced a kidnapping (by the continued grace of God), I can only imagine the trauma into which this family was suddenly thrown. I prayed that the matter would be addressed by the police with both the resolve and sensitivity it deserved. However, to my utter dismay, as I picked up my Sunday paper, enjoying quality time with my family, I read a disturbing headline: “TTPS stands by ‘ransom paid’ claim.” The article said, “One senior cop closely involved in the ongoing investigation said he gave that information to the TTPS public affairs division and stood behind it.” The article also said, “He could not understand why anyone would say that a ransom was not paid.”

I am not a police officer by any stretch of the imagination, but should the payment of a ransom in kidnapping cases be revealed to the public? Is it wise to publicly declare cooperation with criminals? Is this taught at the Police Academy? Could it be that such revelations would entice and encourage criminals, particularly in a society where crime detection is low and consequence is slow? Am I watching too much CSI?

To further exacerbate this debacle, the minister has said that neither he nor his family paid a ransom. However, even if a family in distress pays a ransom for the return of a loved one, it is highly irresponsible to reveal this information nationally. Kidnapping is not a lucrative industry.

Mr Police Commissioner, your function is to protect and serve us. Do not condone behaviour that will put us all in jeopardy. We must start thinking in this country. Some truths must be reserved for the greater good. Even as citizens, we too must appreciate that while the media will do their very best to provide us with as much information as they can, we are not entitled to know everything.

I hope that one day senior cop can come to understand why someone would say that a ransom was not paid.



"How much truth for public is too much?"

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