Thu | Jul 19, 2018

Good move on prison

Published:Saturday | January 14, 2017 | 12:00 AM


It is a very good thing that the Andrew Holness Government has rejected the UK prison deal. They could not have done a better thing for the people of Jamaica.

When the issue first surfaced, the pride of Jamaicans, home and abroad, was severely bruised.

It was disrespectful that the UK prime minister at the time David Cameron gave the impression that the prison was a gift. You simply do not give a prison as a gift - especially to a country that you once colonised.

That has to be taken into consideration, and based on my reading of the situation, people immediately got upset because of this.

Second, the UK is trying to save money, but while the UK is trying to save money, it is going to cost Jamaicans millions of dollars to construct and maintain the prison.

Why should Jamaicans take on that burden?

If the approach of the UK changes and they offer the prison not as a gift and agree to pay for it in full, then there will be reason for consideration.

They would have to also agree to ensure that the prison is energy efficient and be run on solar power so as to reduce the utility expense.

The prison cannot come alone, though. It will still leave a bad taste in the mouths of people.

An institution seen as one that is uplifting needs to be built also.

For example, in addition to the full construction of the prison, the UK could perhaps offer to help finance a museum in downtown Kingston.

The UK could offer to help finance the new Parliament building.

In addition to those, the UK would need to ensure that at least for the first 10 years of operation, there is a fund that Jamaica can pull money from to help with the operation of the prison.

Neville Williams