Jamaican Government, reject UK prison deal
This petition had 765 supporters
WE THE JAMAICAN PEOPLE call on the Jamaican government to terminate the MOU signed between the Ministry of National Security and the UK to facilitate the transfer of foreign prisoners from the UK and the construction of a prison to house them.
The Jamaican Government has accepted a proposal by the UK to:
- Fund 40% of the construction of a new prison in Jamaica (roughly 60% of the cost will be funded by the Jamaican government). The prison will house between 1,500 and 2,000 prisoners.
- Accept and bear the costs of over 300 inmates who were convicted and sentenced in the UK. These prisoners will be transferred from the UK to Jamaica under a mandatory transfer programme.
This deal is a slap in the face of the Jamaican people, who cannot afford to fund prisoners who are convicted and sentenced in the UK.
Money that could have been spent on education for you or your children, healthcare for you and your family, better security, better salaries for civil servants, will be spent to fund foreign prisoners that we have no obligation to accept.
Jamaica will foot the bill for the Prison and the Prisoners. While we accept that Jamaica needs a more humane prison to house local prisoners, we reject any plans to spend additional taxpayer dollars to build a prison to house foreign prisoners and to pay for their stay. The UK proposal to grant £25 million for 40% of the cost of the prison, and a further £5.5 million for resettlement and rehabilitation is unacceptable.
Foreign prisoners are expensive:
- Statistics from 2008 show that Jamaica already spends more per prisoner per year than the salaries of many teachers, policemen, firemen and JDF soldiers. Jamaica should not be spending more money on foreign prisoners convicted in the UK. (Source)
- The deal will save U.K. taxpayers £10 million per year but the UK grant for resettlement and rehabilitation is only £5.5 million. Thus, the Jamaican taxpayer will bear Britain's burden and the resettlement and rehabilitation grant will not even cover one year's expenses. (Source)
- The UK spent £36,000 per prisoner per year in 2008, according to National Offender Management Service accounts. This burden will now be borne by the Jamaican taxpayer. (Source)
- In 2014, the UK said it would save £27 million per year by transferring Jamaican prisoners to Jamaica. Thus, the grant funds to construct the prison amount to less than one year of UK taxpayer spending. However, Jamaica will have to bear that burden annually until the prisoners are released. (Source)
In addition to the monetary cost, Jamaica will accept hundreds of foreign criminals who will be released into our jurisdiction.
The UK has been trying to pressure the Jamaican government to accept this deal for many years. The U.K. has struck similar compulsory transfer agreements with Albania, Nigeria, Somaliland, Rwanda and Libya in the past. Previous Jamaican administrations stood up with pride and dignity, and rejected their proposals. Jamaica has no obligation to accept foreign prisoners. The UK convicted and sentenced them, so they must bear the costs. However, for some strange reason, the Portia Simpson Miller administration has caved to their requests.
The worse part of this deal is that British prime minister rejected calls by the Jamaican people to apologise for slavery and pay reparations. Calls for reparations were made by PM Portia Simpson Miller, UWI Vice Chancellor Sir Hillary Beckles, and chair of Jamaica's National Commission on Reparations Verene Shepherd. It has been discovered that he has relatives who were paid compensation for the slaves they owned at the end of slavery. While telling Jamaicans to "move on from the painful the legacy of slavery," Cameron announced in 2014 that he would take every step to ensure Britain "never forget the Holocaust." This double standard is a slap in the face to those whose ancestors provided the UK with its great wealth.
However, Cameron is doing what is in the best interests of the UK. We demand that our government do what is in the best interests of Jamaica.
Several advocacy groups have publicly rejected the deal:
Vox Pop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-vLCyeosuk#t=138
Young Jamaicans: http://www.jamaicaobserver.com/news/Reject-UK-s--25-m-prison-deal--Young-Jamaica-tells-Gov-t
A Better Solution
An informed and effective government could propose a better solution that is in the interests of the Jamaican people. We could build a new prison for our people, without taking on foreign prisoners and burdening the Jamaican taxpayer. For example:
- Rejecting the prison deal and building a smaller prison: Since Jamaica is funding 60% of the cost of the prison, we could build a smaller prison that only houses prisoners convicted in Jamaica, using our own money.
- Ratifying a voluntary prisoner transfer programme: Allow prisoners who have a reasonable prospect of rehabilitation and strong family ties in Jamaica to voluntarily apply to be transferred to serve their sentences in Jamaica. This will allow the UK and Jamaica to exercise their sovereignty by choosing which prisoners should be returned to Jamaica and which should remain in Britain. This is the humane thing to do for Jamaicans serving sentences abroad.
STAND FOR INDEPENDENCE
STAND FOR JAMAICA
SAY NO TO THE PRISON DEAL
SAY NO TO FOREIGN PRISONERS
SAY NO TO TAXPAYER DOLLARS FOR FOREIGN PRISONERS
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