'Keep your prison!' ... Holness Gov't turns down Britain prison offer

January 13, 2017
Prime Minister Andrew Holness

The Andrew Holness-led government has flatly turned down a proposal from Britain to help build a prison here in order for them to send back criminals. 

Kamina Johnson Smith, Jamaica's foreign minister, said that the deal would not have been beneficial to Jamaica.

During a visit to Jamaica in September 2015, then UK Prime Minister David Cameron said his country would spend £25 million or some J$5.5 billion on building a prison in Jamaica so that foreign criminals in the UK can be sent home.

Cameron's offer triggered national fury when he said Jamaica had signed an agreement to get 40 per cent of the cost to build a new prison.

Cameron revealed that as part of the deal 300 Jamaican nationals who are serving sentences in the UK prison system would be sent back to Jamaica to complete their sentences.

The previous Jamaican government had signed a non-binding MOU with the United Kingdom for a new maximum security prison for the island, facilitated by a proposed prisoner transfer agreement.