Written by on January 16, 2017

Jamaica has rejected the U.K’s offer to help build a new maximum-security prison.

On Friday, Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, made the announcement in Parliament.

Jamaica’s former administration had signed a non-binding memorandum of understanding (MOU) under which the British government would have contributed £25 million (US$30 million) towards building the new prison.

First tabled 6 months ago by Britain’s’ former Prime Minister David Cameron, the UK’s £25 million contribution would have only been 40% of the cost of building the prison, leaving Jamaica to find funding for the rest, which would more than likely mean raising taxes.

Johnson Smith said after assuming office, the new administration met with the UK government and discussed the terms set out in the MOU – which included deporting 300 Jamaican prisoners in British jails to complete their sentences in their homeland.

Johnson Smith said “This administration does not believe that the terms offered would have been beneficial to Jamaica as a whole.”

The prison deal was widely condemned by Jamaicans – home and abroad, with many calling it an insult. At the time, Prime Minister Andrew Holdness told Cameron that the money would be better spent on education.

As of September 2016, more than 550 Jamaicans – including 24 women, were imprisoned in the U.K.

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