Mon | Aug 21, 2017

Did Government expect to get prison free?

Published:Wednesday | January 18, 2017 | 1:00 AM

THE EDITOR, Sir:

Jamaica's quest to have better prison conditions for the incarcerated is nearly 50 years old. It did not start with any memorandum of understanding with the ex-colonial master when David Cameron visited Jamaica in 2015. Indeed, the British taxpayers have no obligation to build us a new facility, because 1962 took care of all that.

In fact, those who believed that better facilities were critical components of an improved criminal justice system, important to rehabilitation and an imperative in reducing recidivism, included the late R. Carl Rattray, who became justice minister in 1974, some 43 years ago.

Since then, to my certain knowledge, K.D. Knight, Peter Phillips, Derrick Smith and Peter Bunting, as ministers of national security, all published request for proposals (RFPs) to get proposals for a private-public partnership to build a new prison.

So, this Jamaican does not understand either the minister or the G2K saying the British partnership was rejected on cost. They should say what was the indicative cost of any of those RFPs for which they had responses. They should also say what it would cost were the Government to do it alone, as it must some time in the future to accommodate our own, whether Britain wants to deport Jamaican wrongdoers before time or not.

Did the Government expect a free prison from Britain? In this partnership, Britain would have put £25 million and the GOJ £15 million for the new £40 million facility. What did they expect? How much did they want from Britain?

Someone should remind the Government that "Manley went up to England to seek for independence, and although Busta was late, he stopped at Montego Bay". Independence took place on August 6, 1962.

COLIN CAMPBELL