Tuesday, January 22, 2008

An ‘Inconvenient Truth’?

Detective Constable Cary Lyn-Sue. The name will probably go down in Jamaican history in years to come; Thirty-one year old Lyn-Sue put the cat among the pigeons last week by doing something revolutionary. He told the truth. The detective constable confessed in the Montego Bay Resident Magistrate's Court that he had fabricated witness testimony in the trial of 22-year old Jason James, allegedly a member of the Killer Bee gang.

Well, I didn’t even know such a gang existed. Lyn-Sue openly admitted that it was frustration that had driven him to invent a crown witness complete with incriminating testimony when fear prevented any actual witnesses from testifying. He was aware of various crimes committed by the accused, he said, and thought that getting James off the streets even for a day would be doing society a favour.

Speaking on Nationwide Radio’s This Morning programme the emotional constable said that he realized that his motive did not justify his deed and that he was perfectly willing to face the consequences for his crime of perjury. However he had recently converted to Christianity and found it increasingly difficult to live with what he had done. Owning up to his misdeed had made him feel good, and he felt a sense of relief, he said, even though he realized that the consequences would be dire.

There was something moving, if not awe-inspiring, about this extraordinary admission by the young policeman whose voice vibrated at times with the tension he was obviously feeling, having decided to take this lonely step of owning up to his misconduct, in a culture which appears to prefer to keep the truth behind bars or six feet under while making the sign of the cross and singing sankeys.

In fact I was puzzled by the response of the hosts of my favourite morning programme (This Morning) on which Lyn-Sue was being interviewed. Both hosts seemed to consciously be withholding approval of the young man’s unprecedented confession, instead trying to get him to ‘inform’ on other corrupt cops. I would have given the young man a metaphorical hug and thanked him for showing such courage. Instead he was offered no sympathy or approval. As one of the hosts said the next day, “Yes, we should say it’s commendable but we ought not to applaud it”.

Pray, why not? In my opinion we should not only applaud Constable Lyn-Sue’s revolutionary action, we should reward him for telling the truth, no matter how personally inconvenient to himself. After all don’t we want others to step forward and do the same? Or do we think in spite of what former Police Commissioner Lucius Thomas said a few years ago about rampant corruption in the police force that this is an isolated incident? Why such nitpicking over an act that has now forced the Police to institute the kind of review of the Force that has been overdue for years?

Another common response from some members of the public was that they didn’t know why Constable Lyn-Sue’s confession was such a revelation; after all everyone knew that many police personnel routinely falsify information and frame innocent people. One caller to the programme Looking Forward, Looking Back, on which I’m a co-host, claimed that he had several friends on the Police force who freely admitted to engaging in such perversions of justice so what was so great about what Lyn-Sue had done?

Well, it just boggles the mind that people can’t see the difference. Private or bar-room confessions by corrupt police and soldiers place no pressure on anyone to curb the disturbing criminality of lawmen. You can see the difference Lyn-Sue’s action has made by the reaction of various members of the police force. The new Police Commissioner immediately suspended the detective constable after the news of his confession hit the headlines.

In a disturbing article published yesterday Jamaica's leading newspaper, the Gleaner, quoted members of the police force complaining about young Lyn-Sue’s breach of collegiality and the so-called ‘code of silence’ which allows such wrongdoing to flourish. In their view he was a traitor.

“In this business, your word is your bond, it is what you live and die by,” said one lawman, bitterly. “You just can't decide overnight that you are now a Christian, so you should go out and talk foolishness to mash up other people's life.”

Thankfully, Lyn-Sue remains undaunted and unrepentant. “Some people are saying that I have destroyed my life and my career. However, I am happy to say that whatever I have lost in this world, I have gained in Jesus Christ.” Amen and Hallelujah! In a Christian country such as Jamaica, surely there should be many more Lyn-Sues. Those who make the comparison to Marion Jones’s confession are missing the point. Unlike Marion Jones, Detective Constable Cary Lyn-Sue was in no danger of being found out. He could have remained mum as his colleagues seem to wish he had and kept his job and furthered his career. Instead he decided to clear his conscience by confessing.

Mere applause is insufficient. Lyn-Sue is already a candidate for Man of the Year in my books. He has given new meaning to the phrase ‘he acted like a man’.

14 comments:

geoffreyphilp101@gmail.com said...

Dear Annie,

Greetings!

As usual, your integrity shines. I look forward to more.

1Love,
Geoffrey

Dave Lucas said...

Hello Annie!

Welcome to the blogosphere! Please check my blog out and I hope we can exchange links!

Dave Lucas

Dave Lucas said...

Hi Annie! I found your blog while searching for something else! Next time I add to my blogroll (I usually tinker with the template Friday nights) I will add your blog.

Dave

Annie Paul said...

ok cool Dave, will do the same with yours...

ta

ap

Richard Sven said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Long said...

Annie --

The responses tell us a lot about the codes of morality that are operating in the society right now I use that language intentionally because at its core, there is a serious crisis about what is good, true and just. People confuse truth with personal gain. It is only true, good and just, and worth acknowledging as such, if I can walk away with more money in my pocket, more notoriety, more credentials, higher status. Otherwise, what's the point? In my experience today, there are few people who are able to resist this impulse to gain from this societal madness, and those are able to do so, even for a minute like Lyn Sue, are in a serious bind. Even fewer will support them, so thanks Annie for bringing this to the fore, and making it clear that being in that bind is far more human and respectable than going along with the bullshit.

In a funny way, Tara Clivio's article yesterday - which wasn't even about this issue -- illustrates this. She applauded an 8-year old girl for noting that what was wrong with the segregation of public buses in the pre-CRM US was that she might not be able to hear what white people at the front of the buses were saying. That is, what matters is not the collective injustice and crimes that harms us and that we actively collude in, but how we make sure that we as individuals extract as much from the bankrupt status quo. Keeping up appearances is still the order of the day -- even if people must die in vain.

Telling the truth gets you a lot of cussing and even dead, but its a far more noble and decent way to live.

Long Bench

Afifa Aza said...

This is really quite interesting and i cant say he deserves any kudos for what he did imagine how much more he wouldn't done if it wasn't for find "Jesus". I believe the only thing he deserves for doing the right thing is immediate dismissal and a prison sentence. Just as if you hit someone done by accident and ran away from the scene and then came latter to the police station to confess, you still going to jail despite coming out of hiding.

Afifa Aza said...

Greetings

A long time ago i came to your office wanting a cover for a development magazine and website....Inside development, you had designed the cover and i was to get back to you after. Many months passed and the site moved through different phases. I have just now managed to revive it, i have started a blog called mickle, you can visit at mickle.insidedevelopment.org, the website is insidedevelopment.org. Thank you for your early words of encouragement and I look forward to reading your posts.

Uncultured said...

Hello Annie,

I like the work that you are doing. In addition to writting stuff on this site (thanks for the comment by the way) I am also involved in an independent media site www.coanews.org

The editor is always interested in people that want to write indepentent stories like this one.

Will

Anonymous said...

This is much bigger than Lyn-Sue.
This is a watershed event.

Annie Paul said...

What do you mean? Explain...

ap

JN said...

Hello Annie. Love your writing. On Lyn-Sue I have mixed feelings. The confession I admire. Truth is important. Self-sacrifice - he will be raped/beaten/killed in prison and his family violently targetted by members of the gang still out there - is another thing.

That one act of confession is not sufficient for me to judge him man of the year. Confessing to the evil we do, is a far less virtuous thing than acting virtuously in the first place.

peace
jn

Annie Paul said...

Thanks JN,

can't believe i caught this the same day the comment was left...

you know i hadn't thought of that, of Lyn-Sue being brutalized during his stint in prison. i had wondered why people were trying so hard to get him off what seems to be a pepper corn sentence--6 months. this must be why.

but don't you think doing the right thing once something has been acknowledged as wrong is very important and not done often enough?

and did you ever finish your novel?

ap

footballer said...

Annie,
Can I publish your blog about Calabash last year in the Trinidad Express? Please email me back at nazma2@yahoo.com and send me your number, please.
Nuff respeck,
Nazma