Sun | Dec 17, 2017

Resumption of British prison offer talks not a priority - Charles

Published:Wednesday | October 18, 2017 | 3:50 PM
Charles ... while the discussions need to resume, we cannot commit to a time frame.

State Minister in the Ministry of National Security, Senator Pearnel Charles Jr, says the resumption of discussions on the prison offer from the British Government is not a priority at this time.

Addressing a meeting of the Rotary Club of Mandeville, Charles said while the discussions need to resume, he could not commit to a time frame.

He also said there was not much detail about the discussions between the Portia Simpson Miller-led administration and the British Government regarding the prison offer.

According to Charles, it was on that basis that the offer was rejected by the Andrew Holness-led government.

Charles' comments follow a confirmation by the newly appointed British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, that the prison offer was still available.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the Manchester Chamber of Commerce, Ahmad said his government would be ready to resume those talks if the Jamaican government is still interested.

During an official visit to Kingston in 2015, British Prime Minister David Cameron offered 25 million British pounds to Jamaica to help with building a new state-of-the-art prison here.

As part of the deal, Jamaica would have to accept its nationals serving time in British prisons with 18 months remaining in their sentences.

It was revealed that the prison offer would have been less than half the amount it would cost the Jamaican government to build a new correctional facility.

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