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MORE than 300 Jamaican criminals in British prisons will be sent away after David Cameron pledged £25 million of foreign aid yesterday to build a huge jail on the Caribbean island.
The Tory PM claims that the prison transfer agreement will save taxpayers around £10m a year, despite being paid for by funds set aside to help poor countries in need.
Prisoners sentenced to more than four years and with at least 18 months left to serve would be flown out from 2020 as the first cohort to be locked up in a new 1,500-bed facility.
Shadow international development secretary Diane Abbott criticised the deal as misguided, “wrong in principle” and a “superficial public relations initiative.”
The MP, who has Jamaican-born parents, added: “I do not believe aid money should be spent on building prisons merely as an adjunct to the British criminal justice system.
“If David Cameron is really interested in seeing a decrease in the levels of criminality in Jamaica, he should be investing more in education projects and helping to promote local agriculture and manufacturing, which would provide legal employment for young Jamaicans.
“As it is, catastrophic economic conditions and the absence of employment opportunities force too many Jamaicans down the road of criminality.”
Jamaican officials pressed multimillionaire Mr Cameron, whose slave-owning family received compensation when slavery was abolished in 1834, to consider making national reparations and apologise to Caribbean countries for Britain’s role in the slave trade.
But he refused to apologise and instead promised the prison deal as part of a £200m plan to “reinvigorate” ties with the island by letting British firms bid for contracts to build roads, ports and bridges.
Britain also has prisoner transfer agreements with Albania, Nigeria, Somaliland, Rwanda and Libya.
Mr Cameron claimed that the deal with Jamaica was “an important step forward” because Jamaicans account for the third-largest group of foreign national offenders in Britain and that they should not be paid for by “the hard-working British taxpayer.”
There were 619 Jamaican-born inmates in England and Wales as of June this year.
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