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For Jerry and Kat true love waits


KIMBERLEY CUMMINS

For Jerry and Kat true love waits

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Some people say true love doesn’t exist anymore; cynics say maybe it never did. But observing Jerry Weekes as he lovingly gazes at his fiancée Katrine Phillips one cannot ignore the fact that it is very present between them.

Beginning back in 1995, the story of the pair, known affectionately as “Jerry Dan” and “Empress Kat”, is far different from any fairy tale love affair you have ever read about.

In fact, as the lovebirds sat with the SUNDAY SUN in a very candid interview on the lush grounds of the Bagatelle Great House, Bagatelle, St James, they admitted their relationship was quite the challenge.

It all started when Weekes was handed a 14-year jail term for a June 24, 2001 incident.

Before that, though, their relationship was like most.  After being introduced by a mutual friend, their friendship grew but there was never any hint that the two would ever become involved.

“I never had no feelings for him and I don’t think he had any feelings for me. He was like a brother to me. We were so close I would carry him by his girlfriends and I would go back and pick him up and we would have stories – we were that close,” Phillips said as she and Weekes laughed in unison.

But a realisation that things were changing came almost four years after their first meeting when on her birthday, January 30, 1999, Weekes surprised her with a huge extravagant gift. He had never done anything like this before and Phillips was wowed even more because after her birthday, flowers and other sentiments continued arriving at her workplace.

“And I used to like those things. I was freaking out and I told myself, ‘Jerry like he starting to like me or something’.”

Three months later when they attended a dance at The Penthouse was when something between the two “clicked”.

Weekes said as he mischievously inserted a “TMI” [too much information] moment while Phillips tried to cover his mouth with her face turning red.

Surprise brought tears

Following that encounter the couple decided to take things to the next level by moving in together. But even as Phillips remained a bit nervous about their relationship since the then disc jockey was very popular with the girls and because some of her family members were not in agreement with the union, things were going well and on her birthday in the year 2000 Weekes proposed.

With a reminiscent smile etched on her face, a giggling Phillips recounted that Weekes arranged a surprise birthday party as a cover for the proposal.

“I remember he took me to River Bay [St Lucy] and I thought it was a nice romantic birthday drive. We were down there for a little and when we were ready to leave the car wouldn’t start and he started dropping little hints asking if I would get married and I was like ‘I ain’t ready for no marriage yet’,” she said as she laughed.

“On the way back I saw people like my sister running and I saw people that I knew and I was, like, ‘Oh God, what have you done?’ I didn’t expect a proposal – I just thought it was a party. We gone in there and so said so done: it was a party. All of my friends and family were there and it was being recorded.

“We cut the cake and as I went to walk off he dropped down on one knee in front of everybody. I was so shame, I was embarrassed and he pulled out the ring and asked: ‘Empress Kat, will you marry me?’ Everybody was crying; it was really emotional and I said yes.”

Doting over each other, the couple planned to have their wedding on Weekes’ birthday, October 26 the following year.

 However, a few months earlier all the drama unfolded and they did not get to walk down the aisle.

Phillips said: “My whole world fell apart when he went to prison. I didn’t know my head from my toes. I don’t know how to explain it. At times something would come over me and I would be, like, ‘This is so long – can I do this? When it first happened I said, ‘At least he has a date to leave, some people don’t’, and I tried to let that help me through it but I am not going to lie: it was hard. There were nights when I was crying and crying to go to sleep. Sometimes I would be driving and going through stoplights because it was so bad. I couldn’t accept that this man gone.”

After many regular weekly visits to Glendairy prison, several trials and an unsuccessful appeal on February 15, 2006, Weekes realised he would have to serve his entire sentence and though it was extremely hard for him to do, he told Phillips it was best that she carried on her life without him.

The 24-page letter

“When I lost my appeal, that was the day I officially knew I would have to do all of this time plus six weeks (for the lost appeal). After it was done she was in the court with friends. I remember I told her, ‘Babes, we tried everything, thanks for everything you done for me [but] you deserve better. Take care of yourself, I going and do this time’. She start to cry but I knew there wasn’t nothing more we could do,” Weekes said.

“I went back to prison and at that point I told myself I can’t worry myself with no woman from prison, it is best to shut this off. Then she write me a 24-page letter and she told me, ‘Dan, you got eight more years to do. I ain’t giving up. I gine do that whole eight years with you. We come too far to give up now. I will see you walk out of prison, I ain’t giving up, please don’t give up on me.

“I was, like, wait I in prison and she telling me don’t give up on she, it should have been the other way around. I study it long because I in prison and I see what does be going on. Women does just talk; I see women come in there with big bellies, so I decided I can’t worry about she out there, I got to do prison or it gine break me down. The next visit I got was through a monitor. She went to Glendairy and I was down St Lucy, so I told myself I gine and shut this off. I done with this but then when I get up there and see she, she had looked so nice. So I tell myself I gine live one day at a time, however it go, it gine go,” he added.

Despite many pleas by some friends and family to move on, Phillips never stopped writing or visiting on a weekly basis to whichever penitentiary Weekes was housed in.

On July 17, 2014 Weekes finally walked through the gates of Her Majesty’s Prison Dodds, St Philip, to the arms of his “soulmate”. And with all of the experiences now behind them they consider what they went through as a test of strength, integrity and character.

Now the couple is still engaged and planning a 2016 wedding.

 Weekes says he wants to give his queen the most beautiful fairy tale wedding and the most wonderful life she can dare to imagine.

“Some that may be reading our story may have a negative aspect of it but that’s okay. I won’t say I am a biblical man – I don’t live by the text every day – but I know enough to know, as Proverbs tells you, behind every successful man is a great woman and I believe it. I came home and I never lacked for anything. Having been in prison for so long, she made every provision me. It is good to be on someone’s mind. Usually when out of sight they forget about you but for you to be etched in someone’s memory every single day for that type of time it shows the level of commitment and the love that person has for you,” Weekes said.

While Phillips admitted that she could have walked away, she said she believes everybody deserves a chance.

“He was never in any trouble before. He was a good guy and I have seen a huge improvement since he came home. My duty at that time was to be there for him. I was put here by God to be here for him. He is my whole world.  I love him. No matter what, I am not going anywhere,” Phillips proclaimed. (SDB Media)

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