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National Security Ministry outlines details of MOU for prison construction

Published:Sunday | October 4, 2015 | 12:00 AM

As public criticism of the deal with Britain to part-finance the construction of a prison continues, the Ministry of National Security yesterday published details of the non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) between Jamaica and the United Kingdom (UK) in an effort to clarify what it has negotiated with the UK.

A breakdown of the MOU was published in yesterday's edition of The Sunday Gleaner.

In the document, the ministry said it was Jamaica that engaged the UK in negotiations for more than a year to secure a grant of £25 million to fund the prison construction.

It states that the grant would be contingent on the signing of a prison-transfer agreement sponsored by the UK, involving the transfer of 300 Jamaicans who committed crimes in Britain.

The ministry notes that the rehabilitation and reintegration of the 300 prisoners under the proposed agreement will "not be a burden on the public purse".

three important points

It outlines that three important points should be considered in respect of the negotiation.

The document states that Jamaica will source the remaining funds to complete the construction. It adds that £5.5 million has already been successfully negotiated towards reintegration and resettlement of the prisoners.

The ministry also says Jamaica will only sign if new legislation is enacted to support the transfer.

The national security ministry maintained that the country's prison facilities are old, dilapidated and overcrowded and, therefore, not fit for rehabilitation. It says the non-binding MOU will allow for the retiring of the main prisons on Tower Street in downtown Kingston and in Spanish Town, and the building of a new prison that would focus on rehabilitation.

The ministry adds that the retirement of the Tower Street and St Catherine facilities would also free up land space for redevelopment.