Radio, TV man says sorry from prison

Radio, TV man says sorry from prison

Attempted murderer Wayne Whyte now trying to lift fellow inmates

BY SHARLENE HENDRICKS
Staff reporter

A once popular broadcaster, now serving 14 years in prison for an attack on his then lover, has admitted his wrong and is begging for forgiveness.

Wayne Whyte, who was found guilty for the attempted murder of media personality Jody Ann Gray, is also using his time behind bars progressively, saying that while he regrets his actions, he is glad to have found his calling behind prison walls.

“I am not happy to be here, but I am not sorry either. When I was in jail and having to interact with remandees, I realised that a lot of them were academically challenged. Many of them could not read or write and as a broadcaster and a communicator by nature, I took the opportunity to teach,” Whyte told the told the Jamaica Observer in an exclusive interview last week at the Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre, where he has been incarcerated since 2013.

Whyte, along with his co-conspirator Safari Farr, were given concurrent sentences of 14 years’ in prison for wounding with intent, 10 years for illegal possession of firearm and five years for illegal possession of ammunition.

Gray, who was a popular Supreme Ventures television hostess and Kool FM announcer was shot once in the face and twice in the shoulder as she drove up to her home in Portmore, St Catherine. The prosecution found Whyte to have been the mastermind behind the attack on Gray with whom he was said to be having an extramarital affair.

Without divulging the reasons for his attempt to eliminate Gray, who at the time of the attack was seven months pregnant with his child, Whyte admitted that it was a bad decision.

“There is nothing to justify what transpired and I don’t try to find loopholes or a scapegoat to blame. At the end of the day, it was a matter of bad choices and bad associations. I take responsibility, I hold myself accountable and I am moving on,” Whyte said, adding with much contrition that that hopes to make personal amends with Gray who eventually gave birth to his child.

“My big concern right now is if I will ever get to meet that child. I am a very involved parent, and I would like to be in that child’s life. I don’t know if that will ever happen. I would also like to personally apologise to the mother, but again, I don’t know if I will get that chance. Forgiveness if it is going to come, it will have to come at her own pace,” said Whyte.

The scorned broadcaster also addressed the public disdain that ensued after news broke about his wicked attempt to kill his former lover.

“The reality is that how it was portrayed in the media was far from the truth. One of the realities I have to accept is that the public is not obligated to me. I have to take responsibility and give account for myself. Because of my influence, people had their expectations and so when you fall from grace, people will react. That is human. But at the end of the day, I take responsibility for myself, hold myself to account,” said Whyte.

The former Cash Cab television host told the Sunday Observer that he not only on a path of full rehabilitation, but that he is committed to serving his fellow inmates. In 2015, Whyte conceptualised the Furthering Rehabilitation through Education and Empowerment, (FREE) Bee spelling competition in a effort to encourage inmates to attend the school inside the prison.

“The reality is that what I am doing here is what I was doing out there. I am a communicator by nature. My purpose is to share, motivate and inspire. Those who really knew me would not be surprised that I am doing this in here,” said Whyte.

“There is an active radio station inside the prison and when I came here they tried to recruit me at that station, but I opted to go to the school to teach instead. I had the idea to start a spelling competition because the inmates love to spell. But I use it as a vehicle to get them to come to school.”

“Wherever I go, I maintain my abilities and I apply myself. Because of my abilities, I realised that I can be a voice, or even help with a letter that an inmate might not be able to structure properly. Because of that, a lot of the inmates come to me,” Whyte continued.

A fellow inmate and participant in the FREE Bee spelling competition lauded Whyte as a ‘tremendous man’.

“Mr Whyte is a very excellent man. When him a teach us spelling, you get the words with the history. Him teach us how to conduct ourselves and be a good person. When you deh around Mr Whyte, you nuh feel like you inna prison,” said the inmate.

Aside from fulfilling his role as inmate administrator, a position that was created for him, Whyte is also a Social Studies and English teacher, pastor and radio host for the prison’s radio station.

“I do a lot of other things too. I am the go-between for inmates and the administration. By nature, I am an organiser. I observer the needs of the inmates, and I will be that voice to go to the superintendent because the inmates don’t have that confidence to speak up.”

Whyte is currently working on other initiatives inside the prison, including what he dubs a prison quiz competition and a debating competition.

“Inmates like to talk; they like to reason, and that is why a debate competition is something that we want to do. I am just playing my part to help in the transformation and the rehabilitation of the inmates,” Whyte said.

source: jamaica observer

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