KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – A former teacher who was in 1997 sentence to 20 years in prison for rape, now has a chance to see his son graduate from secondary school, a wish he expressed publicly two years ago.
Grantley Bramble was among three persons released from prison last week after a meeting of the Prerogative of Mercy Committee, according to a statement from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Cordelia Stephens and Anthony Robinson — the longest-serving prisoners — who were convicted of murder in 1989, were also released.
The two had previously had their sentences reduced to life imprisonment.
The committee, chaired by Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, last week recommended the release to Governor General Sir Frederick Ballantyne.
The recommendation was accepted and Stephens and Robinson were released on April 5.
Bramble was recommended to the Cabinet for release, under the Convict Licence Act, Cap 169, as amended by Act No. 23 of 1988.
Under this Act, the Governor General may grant a licence to any prisoner, to be at large during a portion of their imprisonment.
Cabinet approved Bramble’s release and the Governor General subsequently issued the licence.
Bramble, who was serving the sentence for his second rape conviction, is required to report his place of residence, or any changes to his place of residence, to the police on a monthly basis until the remainder of his sentence has elapsed.
Section six of the Convict Licence Act states that “if any licence holder is convicted either by the verdict of a jury or upon his own confession, of any offence for which he is indicted, his licence shall be forthwith forfeited by virtue of such a conviction”.
Bramble, on Aug. 29, 2010, said he was hoping that prison would not rob him of the chance to see his son, 14 years old at the time, graduate this year, Searchlight newspaper reported then.
He was speaking at a rally to commemorate the first anniversary of the Royal St. Vincent and the Grenadines Police Force and Concerned Residents of Redemption Sharpes and its Environs (CRRSE) organization at Redemption Sharpes
“I have one son left in school and graduation coming soon and I can’t be there … sometimes I does lay down on me back and stare at the ceiling and when I can’t tek it no more, I does take a shirt and put it over me face and I go bawl so the other jail men can’t see me,” the newspaper quoted Bramble as saying.
Bramble’s son was 10 months old when he was imprisoned. The father of seven said that before his incarceration, he had already decided the schools he wanted his children to attend and their career paths.
He said that during his incarceration, he had tried to help fellow inmates become better persons and taught several subjects at the prisons.
Bramble’s poems, plays, and chorale speeches were often performed at the annual Prison Concert.
During the rally, he urged young men to avoid criminal activities. “Set your minds straight. Round there (prison) does make you feel small,” he said.
The other members of the Prerogative of Mercy Committee are the Deputy Prime Minister Girlyn Miguel, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of National Security Godfred Pompey, physician Dr. Ellsworth Charles, National Security Adviser Sir Vincent Beache, and Pastor Adolphus Isaacs of the Gospel Hall church in Mesopotamia.