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Thursday, October 1, 2015

Britain to spend £25million on prisons in Jamaica ..... why ?

The distance from UK to Jamaica is 11868 kms which would translate to around 7300 km in air travel distance.  Jamaica is far off – but Britain is proposing to spend £25million on construction in Jamaica, wonder what or why ???

The island Nation Jamaica slowly gained increasing independence from the United Kingdom and in 1958, it became a province in the Federation of the West Indies, a federation among the British West Indies. Jamaica attained full independence by leaving the federation in 1962 – that was on 6th August 1962.   Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller, is the 7th  and current Prime Minister of Jamaica, representing the People's National Party.

Jamaica, officially the Commonwealth of Jamaica,  is situated in the Caribbean Sea, south of Cuba, and is the  5th  largest island country in the Caribbean. Once a Spanish possession known as Santiago, it became an English colony in 1655 under the name Jamaica.  With 2.8 million people, it  remains a Commonwealth realm.  Kingston is the country's largest city, with a population of 937,700, and its capital.

The island is known for Sports – many Cricketers hail from here.  The undisputed sprint champion Usain Bolt hails from Jamaica.  The fastest sprinting woman Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce,  also hails from Jamaica.   In 2o12 Olympics too, they excelled.  In s Men’s 200M finals -  Bolt won in style; his training partner Yohan Blake took silver  and Warren Weir claimed bronze, making it 1-2-3 for the island Nation. There was another man – who was expected to make but failed - Asafa Powell.

Have recently posted on ‘Siraichalai’  -the Mohanlal starrer, directed by Priyadarshan.  It was the tribulations of Veer Savarkar and many other patriots in the  Cellular Jail, also known as Ka-la- Pa-ani (Black Water),  a colonial prison in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.  The prison was used by the British especially to exile political prisoners to the remote archipelago.  British taxpayers are to fork out £25million to build a more comfortable jail in Jamaica to take convicts whose crimes were committed in the UK, reports MailOnline.  The cash, from Britain’s aid budget, will help to build a prison that meets human rights standards. Jails on the Caribbean island are considered so bad that hundreds of Jamaican prisoners are stuck behind bars in this country. The courts have ruled that sending them back to jails in their homeland would amount to torture or cruel and inhuman treatment.

David Cameron defended the project, saying it would allow hundreds more inmates to be kicked out of Britain. It was agreed as part of a new prisoner transfer deal which officials insist will save millions of pounds. But critics said it was ‘ridiculous’ that Britain had to subsidise foreign prisons in order to deport dangerous felons. It comes as Britain’s own prison budget faces swingeing cuts which senior Tories fear could see thousands more criminals either released from jail early or given softer sentences.

Tory MP Peter Bone said: ‘Jamaica isn’t like Syria and there isn’t any danger to them. 'We shouldn’t be spending money on a new prison for Jamaica, they should be sent back and put in a normal prison in Jamaica. ‘This money could be spent on a lot of things that could improve the welfare of Britons.’ Ukip MP Douglas Carswell said: ‘Being signatories to these human rights rules make it impossible for us to throw criminals out of the country.‘If someone comes to this country from Jamaica and commits a crime they should be sent back. We shouldn’t be running prisons in Jamaica. We stopped running Jamaica decades ago.’

Downing Street insisted the new agreement – which will allow the transfer of prisoners who have received sentences of four years or more and who have 18 months or more left to serve – will see more than 300 inmates returning to Jamaica once the prison opens in 2020. Britain will pay around 40 per cent of the cost of the project. Officials say it will save taxpayers around £10million a year because of it costs £25,000 a year to keep an inmate in prison. Nearly two-thirds of Jamaican prisoners in the UK are serving sentences of four years or more for violence and drug offences.

David Cameron yesterday rejected calls for the UK to pay reparations or apologise for the slave trade. At the start of the Prime Minister’s tour of the Caribbean, his officials said he was focused on the future instead of things that happened ‘when he wasn’t even born’. Portia Simpson Miller, his Jamaican counterpart, has called for talks on the question of reparations. Mike Henry, an MP on the island, said: ‘If it is not on the agenda, I will not attend any functions involving the visiting prime minister. ‘In the case of Mr Cameron, in particular, it is even more sensitive as history has revealed that his ancestors actually owned slaves in the Caribbean centuries ago.’

Tory MP Philip Hollobone welcomed the move. He said: ‘Using overseas aid to build prisons in Jamaica enables us to send back prisoners who would otherwise have to be housed at taxpayers’ expense in this country.’ As he began a two-day visit to Jamaica and Grenada, the Prime Minister announced hundreds of millions more in foreign aid. It includes £300million on Caribbean roads, bridges and ports, £30million for hospitals to help the islands cope with natural disasters and £30million to help Caribbean governments ‘improve the management of their public finances so that they can improve public services’.

When I faced Holding, I received 4 bouncers in an over and a beamer… the next over from him was the same – when he again said the beamer had slipped, I understood that this was a strategy to intimidate.  Lloyd fearing his future as Captain finding us 98 for no loss was desperate and utterly frustrated. …… ……the carnage ensued .. in the pavilion, there was none to attend to Anshuman Gaekwad.  Jamaican ticket authorities showed no regard for the seriousness of injury.  The whole thing was sickening.  Never have I seen such cold-blooded and indifferent behaviour of Cricket officials, and the spectators to put it mildly, were positively inhuman. – extracted from Sunil Gavaskar’s description of the carnage at Sabina Park. Indians cannot forget  how Clive Lloyd unleashed a torrent of fast, dangerous, short-pitched bowling on India, sent half their top-order to the hospital and caused captain Bishan Singh Bedi to 'surrender' the match at Sabina Park, Kingston, Jamaica in 1976.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

1st Oct 2015.

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