KINGSTON, Jamaica, Thursday July 13, 2017 – Britain still appears ready and able to construct a multi-billion-dollar prison in Jamaica once it gets the green light from that island’s government
Back in January, the Andrew Holness administration flatly rejected the offer by the UK.
Leader of Government Business Karina Johnson-Smith had told the Jamaica Parliament that the UK offer was “not beneficial to Jamaica as a whole.”
Six months later, outgoing British High Commissioner David Fitton has told the Jamaica Gleaner: “If the Government were even to want to discuss it again, my door would be open, as with my colleagues in London.”
The idea was first tabled by former British Prime Minister David Cameron during an official visit to Kingston in 2015.
The offer was reportedly made to break a deadlock in negotiations over a prison transfer deal between the two countries.
At the time, there were claims that more than 600 Jamaican nationals were in UK jails but could not be deported because of Jamaica’s poor prison conditions.
Under the terms of a non-binding memorandum of understanding signed between Jamaica and the UK in 2015, Britain was expected to transfer 300 prisoners in British jails to complete their sentences back home.
High Commissioner Fitton assured there was no bad blood between the two countries over the issue, saying that Britain respected the Government’s position.