Charlestown-Nevis-It must have been the world’s best kept secret, as there was no pretense on the face of Ramie Gumbs, as he displayed total shock and horror, as he burst open the front door at the Jessups Community Center on the evening of Saturday 18th June.
Little did he know what was in store for him. He had only been told by his girlfriend Trisha Wilkinson that they were attending a ‘function’ at the aforementioned venue.
He was greeted with loud shouts of ‘surprise!’ All of the persons gathered had successfully kept a secret of an event that had been in the planning for several weeks.
The occasion? It was a very significant moment in the life of Ramie, who after being incarcerated at her majesty’s prison for some ten long years, eventually received his freedom on 15th June 2016.
Wednesday 15th June 2016, effectively made one year, since he had been released from Prison. A good time as any for a celebration, thought Trisha who worked assiduously behind the scenes with close friend Maurisha Walters, to plan and execute the event.
A brief ceremony ensued, which was chaired by Ramie’s immediate supervisor, where he is currently employed at the Communications Unit of the Ministry of Social Development, Mr. Curtis Morton.
He noted that when he was first approached by his bosses about Ramie’s employment, that he was a bit skeptical, but then he did not know Ramie.
Now that he has seen Ramie in action, he was proud to inform the gathering that Ramie has excelled at his job. He has learnt quickly; is a prolific writer; always punctual and willing to work overtime hours and to go the extra mile. Due to these high ideals, he has been comfortable in leaving him in charge of the office, when he is absent from duty.
Miss D. Michelle Liburd, Asst. Secretary in the Ministry of Social Development, noted that from the outset she had been impressed with Ramie: His general demeanour and his commitment to making a positive change in his life. He had acquired five subjects at the CXC level while in prison, with four distinctions and had earned a reputation as the ‘Jail Lawyer’ as he used his knowledge and ability to do relevant research to assist prisoners in their defence.
He also taught several subject classes in prison and assisted many of his cell mates to also excel at their overseas examinations.
Ramie’s niece, Renci rendered a wonderful solo and Leasia and Thelisha presented a well -received dance.
Former Canadian top cop, Mr. Dan Mc Mullin, who continues to conduct rehabilitative work with prisoners in St.Kitts and Nevis, spoke of his interaction with Ramie while he was in prison. After a rocky start, they eventually became friends and he stated that Ramie was a much a mentor to him, as he was to Ramie. He stated that Ramie is the first person to have exited the HMP and taken up an official government job and is being used as a role model for other prisoners to emulate.
Ramie Gumbs, obviously overwhelmed, finally managed words of thanks to God; his girlfriend; Miss Liburd; the Ministry of Social Development; Curtis Morton; his daughter and family members; coworkers and all who would have assisted him thus far.
‘After such overwhelming expressions of love and appreciation, even if I was planning to go back to prison, I can’t do so now. I don’t have the words to express how you all have made me feel. You all nearly fly me heart. I really appreciate it—but don’t do it again,’ he said with a slight laugh.
His girlfriend Trisha then delivered the general vote of thanks and she thanked all who had made the secret celebration a reality but thanked God first and foremost for his many mercies and blessings.
The evening concluded with a few toasts and a sumptuous meal, along with music provided by a DJ.