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Grantley Bramble released from prison after almost 15 years

Grantley Bramble released from prison after almost 15 years

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For Grantley Bramble, the dream of seeing his youngest child graduate from high school is closer to becoming a reality.{{more}}

After spending almost 15 years in prison on rape convictions, Bramble, 53, of Chateaubelair, was set free from Her Majesty’s Prison on Thursday, April 5, making the following day a Good Friday indeed, for his family members, friends and well wishers, who had been seeking his release from prison for years.

When Searchlight visited Bramble at his Plan home on Tuesday, April 10, Clytie, his wife of 21 years, who stayed by his side throughout his incarceration, was once again by his side; both faces could hardly contain the joy that was felt by them, and the many who knew the former teacher.

“I feel like Atlas; like the world is off my shoulder,” he exclaimed.

“That’s how I feel right now and I am really thankful to all the people who helped out; lobby for me, so that I could be here today.”

Now a free man, the father of two from his marriage, says that one of his main goals is to help his son Grantley Bramble Junior (affectionately known as JR) through his final years of secondary school; an opportunity that he feared he would not have had just months ago.

“I was looking forward to spending a two years with him because he wants to do science, and in two years, I could do some physics and chemistry with him. Now I don’t feel like I could be able to handle that in the one year; that’s the only problem, but I so glad that I am here to see him through the rest of it, that wherever he might be weak, I am now here to fill in for him…. I’ve been going through some textbooks – the science does not change; maybe the format of the exams, but not the science.”

‘Brams’, as he is called, said that although he was hoping for an early release, he was not expecting it on the day he got the good news.

Looking back on his last moments as State Property, the ex-convict said he was truly surprised and the most thankful man in the world at the time.

“I was in the yard leaning on the fence, and Chief Prison Officer Andrews call me and say ‘Come man, boss want to talk to you’. So I put me shirt in me pants and run upstairs and go inside the office and the boss (Superintendant of Prisons Linus Goodluck) say ‘Yo heart strong?’ and I say ‘Yes, sir, my heart strong man’; then he start to ole talk me; then he look at me and say ‘you’re a free man, you are free from this very moment. Go and get your things and get out of here’, and me say ‘Eh? Way yo say?’ and he said ‘You’re a free man; go ahead.’

“So with that I just run downstairs and make my phone calls and had to get myself out one time…. So all I do I just run straight inside; jump up on my bunk, rip down my pictures, take up my shoes and my Bible and say ‘fellas well, ah going; ah gone.’”

“The prison was in uproar. The guys really cheer me on. At one time it made me get kind of emotional; I almost cried, but I had to stay strong in front of them.”

Looking further back, at his 1997 and 1998 convictions, Bramble took the opportunity to maintain his innocence of the rape charges he was convicted of; but noted that it was time to move on; rebuild his relationship with his family, and continue his work in the community.

“The people who from this community would know that Brams serve an innocent sentence; had it not been for that knowledge, the people would not have stick up with me…. For the whole situation; it can’t come back; the time lost already, and it doesn’t make sense you go on with grievance in your heart…. That done gone and dead.

“From here on I have to concentrate on getting JR out of school… he really have to make a mark because at this time, I don’t have the resources to send him to university, so it means then that he must excel in order that the powers that be must send him.”

“On the other hand, as time goes by as I said to Clytie, we will discuss how we move forward…. I don’t want to come back into their lives and boss their life right now; I’m fitting in first and then we move on as a team.”

Clytie, who was all smiles the entire time, said that the return of her Brams is the unexpected answer to many prayers that had been offered up by herself, and many persons who stood by her side during the difficult period in her life, especially at times when she did not know how to cope with the incarceration of her husband.

“It was only by the grace of God I kept the faith. It was very challenging, but I have a very strong spiritual life… I had a great sister behind me; which is Bernie and Miss Douglas, my children and all the praying saints was there for me.”

“I want to thank God for them in my life for keeping me strong.”

Bramble also took the opportunity to express his gratitude to the persons who contributed to his release and looked out for his family in a physical and spiritual way; acknowledging that support came from persons from all walks of life; known and unknown.

He offered a word of encouragement to the men he left behind at the 140 year old prison, pleading with them to keep the faith and promised to lobby in any way possible for their cause.

He also indicated that he is willing to continue his visits to schools and communities, if the authorities would use him, since he is always available to mentor youngsters.

“That program is a really nice program: to go into the schools and speak to the kids there so that you could erase the myth that their friends tell them that ‘things nice in prison. It is not a glorious life. It is not a holiday.”

“When a man who experienced fourteen and a half years, could show them the good, the bad and the ugly, you hope that they could choose the good and forget about the bad and the ugly.

Commenting on the conditions placed on him, where he is expected to report to the police on a monthly basis, and not run afoul of the law; failing to do so, he will return to prison and serve out his remaining time, Bramble said that he is not deterred by the conditions in any way.

“… Because I know who I am, and I know the people who I have behind me, so whereas there might have been mishaps in the first place… they would try to make sure the mishaps don’t happen, and I too will make sure that they don’t happen again.”

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