The United Kingdom Prison Memorandum of Understanding blame game between the Holness Administration and the PNP continues this afternoon.

Both are accusing the other of rejecting a controversial non-binding agreement with the United Kingdom.

In the 2015 MoU, the United Kingdom offered Jamaica 25-million pounds towards the construction of a maximum security prison to house at least 1,500 inmates.

The current war of words was sparked by comments by Prime Minister Andrew Holness last week, as he addressed the controversial death of 81-year-old Noel Chambers, who was held in custody for 40 years without trial.

Brithney Clarke has more.

March 2020 would have seen the completion of a multi-billion dollar maximum security prison, funded in collaboration with the government of the United Kingdom.

It would have housed at least 1,500 inmates.

And, a maximum 20% or 300 of those inmate would’ve been deportees from the U.K. under a Prisoner Transfer Agreement that would have been passed into law.

But, None of this came to pass.

Since the offer was made public in 2015, it has sparked controversy.

Nationwide News has seen a copy of the MoU detailing the conditions of the offer from the U.K.

The deal has again come to the public after Prime Minister Andrew Holness, told a news conference last week, that the then PNP-led government rejected the offer.

The backlash to the Prime Minister’s comments have been swift.

In a statement, yesterday PNP president, Dr. Peter Phillips, said while Mr. Holness was opposition leader, he was staunchly against the prison deal.

Dr. Phillips says that even at the time the PNP demitted office, they sought the support of the JLP to reach a consensus, but to no avail.

Speaking in the Senate in January 2017, Leader of Government Business, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Kamina Johnson Smith, said the Holness Administration rejected the offer.

When challenged on the decision, Minister Johnson-Smith says the Government believed the terms were not beneficial to Jamaica.

Despite this, Prime Minister Holness issued a statement over this week suggesting the PNP rejected the deal through inactivity.

The MoU was signed by Peter Bunting on September 29, 2015 after a visit by then British Prime Minister, David Cameron to Jamaica.

But, after the deal was made public, it was greeted with immediate criticism from stakeholders and protest from concerned citizens.

Download signed Memorandum of Understanding between Jamaica and the United Kingdom.

New Prison to be Built With Local Financing

National Security Minister, Dr. Horace Chang says the proposed new maximum-security prison is to be built with Jamaican financing and local personnel. 

Dr Chang refrained from offering a ballpark figure for the project. 

But, the Minister says the facility will aim to house between 1 thousand and 2 thousand inmates. 

Dr Horace Chang, Minister of National Security speaking during a recent tour of sections of the Corporate Area.