KINGSTON, Jamaica – The government of Jamaica has turned down the United Kingdom’s offer to assist in the building of a new maximum-security prison in the island. This was disclosed in the Senate on Friday by minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith. “This administration does not believe that the terms offered would have been beneficial to Jamaica as a whole… and on the basis of same, we have rejected the offer,” she said. Johnson Smith, who is also leader of government business in the Senate, was responding to questions posed by opposition senator, Lambert Brown.
She noted that the previous administration and the UK government 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 facility. The senator said that, after assuming office, the new administration met with the UK government and discussed the terms set out in the MOU. She advised that the government’s decision has been communicated to the UK government and “the matter (of the prison deal) is, therefore, closed at this point in time”.