The United Kingdom will spend £25 million to build a prison in Jamaica so that foreign criminals in the United Kingdom can be sent home to serve their sentences in the Caribbean.
Jamaicans are the third largest group of foreign national offenders in UK prisons, with over 600 Jamaican nationals currently imprisoned in the UK and unable to be deported due to Jamaica’s poor prison conditions.
The agreement was reached today, after years of negotiations, during the Prime Minister’s first visit to Jamaica in 14 years.
Once the first prisoners are returned in 2020, the Prisoner Transfer Agreement is expected to save British taxpayers around £10 million per year.
The UK will contribute £25 million from the government’s existing aid budget to help fund the construction of a new 1500-bed prison in Jamaica, resolving one of the negotiations’ sticking points, which had been the conditions in existing Jamaican prisons.
The prison is expected to be completed by 2020, after which returns will begin.
The UK government has also announced a £300 million investment in critical new infrastructure in the Caribbean, such as roads, bridges, and ports, to help drive economic growth and development throughout the region.
The infrastructure fund, which will be delivered in collaboration with the Caribbean Development Bank, will use money from the UK’s existing aid budget to provide grants over the next few years for a variety of projects that will help boost growth and trade across the region, creating jobs and opening new market opportunities for British businesses.
“We want to help the Caribbean on its path of development,” said the Prime Minister, “by supporting economic growth and creating new opportunities for people who live here.”
“That is the purpose of this £300 million infrastructure fund.” It will help to fund port upgrades, new roads, and bridges, making it easier for businesses in the region to trade with one another and with the rest of the world.
“It will also benefit British businesses that have the knowledge and expertise to deliver the necessary infrastructure improvements.”
“It establishes the United Kingdom as one of the region’s largest bilateral donors – concrete proof of our determination to revitalise this relationship.”
The fund could provide the following types of infrastructure:
- 750 kilometres of improved single-lane roads, including 30-40 bridges
- 20 large water production, storage, and distribution systems
- 75 kilometres of sea and river defences
- 15 ports have been upgraded by providing specialised equipment to expedite freight movements.
- 30 major city/community solid waste management projects
To further promote UK-Jamaica business ties, the government will provide Jamaica with £100 million in export finance.
With £1.1 billion in Caribbean exports and £2.55 billion in bilateral trade in 2014, the UK is the top export destination for much of the Commonwealth Caribbean.
UK Export Finance can now consider medium and long-term financing options for private and public sector borrowers in the UK looking to invest in Jamaica.
The government will also contribute: • £30 million to strengthen hospital infrastructure so that it is more structurally resistant to natural disasters.
£30 million to assist governments in the region in better managing their public finances in order to improve their own public services. This money will be available right away.