Generation 2000 (G2K), the young professional affiliate of the Jamaica Labour Party is commending the Andrew Holness administration for not accepting the UK Prison Deal, as such a deal would likely mean higher taxes for Jamaicans, the organisation said.
Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade minister Kamina Johnson-Smith, in the senate sitting on Friday, announced that Government had rejected the controversial deal, which would have seen the UK help build a 1,500-bed prison in Kingston that would enable Britain to return Jamaica-born convicts to their homeland.
Johnson-Smith noted that the terms of the offer “were not beneficial to Jamaica as a whole”.
Stephen Edwards, the new president of G2K, in a news release on Monday, said “The agreement that the previous government was attempting to get into would mean Jamaicans would likely have to pay higher taxes as the UK was only funding 40 per cent of any such project. That means the government would have to find an additional 6 billion dollars to finalise the project. Those who want the country to take this deal have yet to tell us where this money should come from, and why 6 billion dollars should be spent in this way over all other priorities of the government at this time”.
Edwards further pointed out that the government was not ignoring prisons, referring to the Minister of National Security’s reference to new programmes to reduce the prison population and improve rehabilitation.
“We are happy that the JLP government did not go back on its commitment to not accept the deal. We need more and better schools, not more prisons. While we accept that our current prisons are in a poor condition, so are many of the schools. We are not interested in another penal institution but more educational opportunities for our youth” said G2K Vice President Daniella Allen.
Generation 2000 is of the firm belief that in an environment of tight fiscal controls, the government must continue to prioritize the development of the majority of Jamaicans when it is setting policy.