Sun | Aug 19, 2018

Why the gov't rejected the UK prison offer ... JFJ demands answers

Published:Friday | January 13, 2017 | 5:43 PM
JFJ executive director Horace Levy

Human rights group Jamaicans for Justice (JFJ) is demanding that the Andrew Holness-led administration explain why it rejected the United Kingdom prison deal.

When the $5.5 billion prison offer was announced last year, the JFJ urged the government to take it, stating that the new prison would alleviate the stress on Jamaica’s current correctional facilities.

This morning, Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith told the senate that the government has rejected the offer but refused to disclose the reasons for the rejection only saying the conditions were not favourable.

JFJ executive director Horace Levy says this is unacceptable.

In the Senate today Opposition senator Lambert Brown, insisted that Johnson Smith tell Jamaicans what discussions were held with UK officials before the Jamaican Government decided to reject the prison offer.

IN PHOTO: Kamina Johnson Smith

However Johnson Smith insisted that the matter was closed.

Opposition Senator, Mark Golding also sought to find out when was the decision made to reject the deal.

However, Johnson Smith said the Opposition would have to submit that and other questions and she would pass them to the Minister of National Security, Robert Montague to provide a response.

The UK prison deal is a sensitive issue for Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who last year told the British Prime Minister David Cameron that the money would be better spent on education.

A known condition of the deal included the transfer of 300 Jamaican prisoners in British jails to complete their sentences in Jamaica.

The UK's $5.5 billion deal for the 1,500-bed facility would only be 40 per cent of the cost.

Jamaica would have to find the rest.