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Prime real estate - Security minister points to prison lands as key for redevelopment of downtown Kingston

Published:Tuesday | October 6, 2015 | 10:00 AM
The Tower Street Adult Correctional Centre which sits on prime real estate in downtown Kingston.
National Security Minister Peter Bunting on his way to Gordon House where the British Prime Minister David Cameron announced plancs to give Jamaica a grant towards constructing a new prison.
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Minister of National Security Peter Bunting is touting the land which now houses the Tower Street Adult Correction Centre as a key part of the restoration of downtown Kingston.

Bunting, who is pushing Jamaicans to accept a British proposal to build a new prison on lands believed to be in St Catherine, says the Kingston waterfront, which now houses the Tower Street facility, is ideal for development.

"We won't be refurbishing this facility. It will be demolished and we will be focusing on the redevelopment of downtown, Kingston," Bunting told The Gleaner last Saturday.

The Kingston waterfront is among the most expensive real estate in the Corporate Area, and although Bunting did not say what development would be embarked on, the area that now houses the more than 300-year-old prison, is expected to attract several offers.

He argued that the land could be used to add to the value of downtown Kingston and encourage more investors to the area.

According to Bunting, the building of a new prison would be good for Jamaica as the current conditions under which prisoners are housed are not fitting for anyone.

Despite strong opposition to the plan to build a new prison, part funded by a donation of £25 million from the British Government, Bunting is adamant that this is a step in the right direction.

"It is a matter of national security and public dignity that Jamaica pursue a modern and highly functional correctional system. Amnesty International has repeatedly cited the conditions of our maximum security facilities as falling well below minimum international standards and constituting violations of ... the United Nation's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights," argued Bunting.

andrew.harris@gleanerjm.com