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Jah Cure released early, said greeted by scores of Rasta brethren

BY TYRONE S REID Observer staff reporter

Sunday, July 29, 2007

After eight years "behind the prison walls" of the Tower Street Adult Correctional facility in Kingston, the day that he was "longing for" - his release - came yesterday, but not with the fanfare and flourish that many Jamaicans had highly anticipated.

JAH CURE... released from prison yesterday

During his time behind bars, reggae singer Jah Cure created headlines that won him legions of fans, many who started petitions advocating his release. But yesterday, the reggae artiste, born Siccature Alcock, who was scheduled to be released at 8:00 am, walked out of the maximum security prison minutes after 5:00 am, according to guards.

But even though Jah Cure's early morning release stumped his fans, as well as journalists, scores of chalice-carrying Rastafarians were at the prison gate to greet their 'brother', a senior warder told the Sunday Observer.

"Mi seh, some chalice bun out yah this morning. Ah nuff Rasta come out in di early morning. The one dem who hear bout the early release," the warder said. "Him walk out like Nelson Mandela and him greet some of the man them before the warden escort him away."

The senior warder, who spoke to some of the people who had gathered for the 8:00 am release, said the decision was made to prevent any commotion outside the prison gates.

"I am sorry to know that people came to see him and didn't get the chance. We had to try and avoid the crowd," the warder, dressed in a bright blue uniform, told the crowd, after declining to give his name.

Yesterday, the Sunday Observer received positive comments about Alcock's character while he was an inmate on the A-North block.

"He was a well-behaved inmate. We never have no problem with him," one worker at the prison said.

Another said: "Yes man, him just love him music. Him did alright."

One female warden agreed with her co-workers, before advising us to direct any further questions to "the head office".

In the meantime, several fans who refused to believe that their "artiste" had already left the compound set up camp outside and openly expressed their opinions about his imprisonment and subsequent release.

One female vendor outside the prison, who gave her name only as Miss Yvonne, told the Sunday Observer that Alcock received many visitors each month, the majority being females.

"Him get visitors from all over the world. The other day a white girl come here from France but him didn't take the visit," Miss Yvonne said. "Him go to prison go make him name. I hope that him learn him lesson and move on with him life," she said, adding that she heard that Jah Cure made a stop at Rockfort to "wash off" after leaving the prison.

Her other interesting comments, which had everyone cracking up, included: "Mi hear seh Jah Cure pay all warden rent when him did ovah deh."

One man who said he drove from St Thomas to witness the singer's release said he was very disappointed but wished Jah Cure all the best.

"Even though him have the whole world claim that them love him, him have to be careful," he said.

Another man, a broom vendor from Clarendon, said he wanted to get a glimpse of the man whose songs he can't get enough of.

Trisha, a female fan and a feelance photographer, said people should not judge Alcock as he was capable of making mistakes and changing like other humans.

"I believe that to each his own. If it wasn't time for him to be released, he wouldn't have been released. I just hope that he has learnt from the experience," she said.

Her friend, Kelly, added: "I think he deserved to be released. I just want to get to see him in person now. I hope he wil change too."

Alcock, who was born in Hanover in 1978, was reportedly given the name Jah Cure by Capleton whom he met while growing up in Kingston.

According to police reports, in November 1998, while driving around Montego Bay Alcock was pulled over by the police and arrested on charges of gun possession, rape and robbery. He was taken before the courts in April 1999, found guilty and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

Since the arrest, Jah Cure has firmly maintained his innocence. The story surrounding his case dominated media headlines and barber shop conversations for months, leading to several "Free Jah Cure" campaigns.

While in prison, the singer had access to recording equipment and has released three albums and a number of singles, some of which have done well on local reggae charts. His debut album, Free Jah's Cure was released in 2000, and was followed by Ghetto Life (2003) and Freedom Blues (2005). His popular singles include True Reflections, Love is and Longing For.

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