JLP government had previously rejected this prison deal !

Plans by the United Kingdom (UK) to deport Jamaicans convicted in that country could create diplomatic problems between the UK and Jamaican governments.

The decision by the British government would run contrary to the existing arrangements between Jamaica and the UK.
The Jamaican Government has signalled that it will not accept any plans by the United Kingdom to unilaterally change the deportee arrangements to suit its purpose.



8 Responses

  1. From the article:

    “The Jamaican Government has signalled that it will not accept any plans by the United Kingdom to unilaterally change the deportee arrangements to suit its purpose.”

    Why does Jamaica have this weird idea that it is somehow a big country able to deal with the major countries on equal terms?

    The mere fact that they are talking about plans by the UK to unilaterally change the deportee arrangements to suit its purpose is a strong indication that the UK, in fact CAN unilaterally change the arrangements.

    And if the UK does so, there is actually precious little we can do about it.

    The last time that JLP administration ended up with “diplomatic problems” between Jamaica and one of the major English speaking countries we had:

    – a coincidental delay in the finding and appointment of a new US ambassador to Jamaica

    – visas being revoked

    – more Jamaicans reportedly being refused visas

    among other uncomfortable outcomes.

    Jamaica operates from a VERY weak position in relation to countries such as the USA, UK and Canada (and note, in Canada they are also moving in the same direction as the UK, but in Canada they have more limits on their legislative freedom of action. In Canada they long since began making changes to make it easier to remove non-national criminals: http://news.nationalpost.com/news/canada/canadian-politics/new-tory-legislation-will-force-deportation-of-foreign-criminals-and-strip-them-of-refugee-protection and it will only be a matter of time before the Canadians and British decide that recalcitrant countries who don’t want to enter into voluntary arrangements to imprison their citizens who commit crimes in their jurisdictions will simply have to deal with these criminals being immediately deported instead of serving custodial sentences in the UK and Canada).

    We are quite reliant on them for foreign aid and remittances. If they are pissed off with us enough they can make it very hard for us to get money from various international financial institutions and impossible for us to get aid directly from them. They can also make it more difficult for non-criminal Jamaicans to leave Jamaica to come to their shores to work and thereby send back remittances.

    And since they will look out for numero uno first and always, rather than pretend as if we are somehow on par with them (we have never been and never will be on par with them; any actions in the past that ever gave us that false impression are entirely due to those countries wishing to be respectful and have a mutually beneficial relationship, but nothing can stop them from imposing a relationship more suited to themselves if we throw up roadblocks to their domestic goals) we need to bear in mind that we are not on par with them and from there fight for the best outcome based upon that.

    When you have National Audit Offices criticizing the government for not deporting enough criminals (http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-29715630) and when “The deportation of Foreign National Offenders (FNOs) who have no right to be in the UK” is termed as “a government-wide priority” (https://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/offenders/psipso/psi-2015/psi-01-2015-allocation-of-prisoners-liable-to-deportation-removal.pdf) and British government plans to replace the Human Rights Act 1998 with a new “British Bill of Rights” (one which presumably will afford less protection from deportation by non-national criminals and one which *might* go hand in hand with a British withdrawal from the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) and the associated European Court of Human Rights or ECtHR) the writing on the wall should be pretty clear.

    Instead of then resisting to the bitter end, the GOJ could instead have been proactive enough to suggest to the UK that instead of merely funding 40% of the prison and none of the prisoner costs, the British government could fund perhaps 60% of the prison and forgive debt owed to the UK by Jamaica equivalent to 40% of the cost of the prison and that for a transitional period (implied to be until such time as persons convicted of crimes are deported immediately, which could likely happen after the British Bill of Rights is passed and maybe after the UK withdraws from the ECHR and ECtHR) the British government would fund the cost to house the prisoners either directly or once again via forgiving debt to Jamaica equivalent to those costs.

    The British government thus gets to:

    – remove nearly 1,000 non-national prisoners over time and know that when they plan to deport future Jamaican offenders that Jamaica already is able to handle them

    – reduce expenditure on housing criminals who will be deported anyway

    – only directly spend the equivalent of taxpayer money in the 60% of the construction cost for the prison

    – look good by forgiving some long term debt to Jamaica (and terming such debt forgiveness as aid to a struggling country), with said debt forgiveness then being used to fund the rest of this prison scheme

    The Jamaican government then gets:

    – a new prison with space for at least 500 local criminals aside from the 700-900 who would be transferred from the UK

    – the ability to keep more money in the local economy since instead of the debt going to the UK, it instead goes to the correctional services (new prison officers hired, more local food companies contracted to provide food for prison perhaps)

    – the ability to perhaps experiment with repeat offender penalties to get more lawbreakers off the streets. So for example they might not follow the US with the 3 strikes laws directly, but could mandate that persons who are guilty of three offences of a given serious nature (regardless of how connected the offences are in terms of the acts of the crime or in the nature/type of offences – for example assault and fraud/lotto scamming) just get an automatic 25 year sentence upon conviction for the third serious offence. Then if upon release this person gets convicted of a similar offence in the future, they get a life sentence.

    That could be done in conjunction with reforms in the school system to give people more skills and enable better employment opportunities both here and abroad.

    In that way crime would be fought at both the root (children who don’t get the skills necessary to make the most of opportunities or who are socialized into thinking crime is acceptable) and the shoot (adults who likely cannot be reformed easily being taken off the streets where they commit crimes).

    This should result in an increase in the prison population over the next 25-35 years with a taper off at that point and a decrease in the prison population over the next 65-75 years.

    But instead of that we have one set of fools who feel they can really defy the US over drugdealers and over the long-term defy the UK over Jamaican criminals that the UK intends to get rid of and another set of fools who can’t think of how to make the best of fait accompli situations.

    • The later part of your post is where we now have an agreement. We should NEVER resign ourselves to the positon that we have ” no choice” because we are small and therefore have to accept anything.

      Recall each nations is about looking after the interest of its people. In that case we must seek to negotiate as best as we can to obtain what I consider to be a fair deal that does not seek to make our economic situation any worse than it already is.

      UK has a problem, UK needs Jamaica to help it solve this problem. In that case let’s me try and arrive at the best deal possible for us as part of the discussion.

      We cannot roll over and play dead despite the fact that we think we do not have a good hand.

      If you go into any discussion thinking we are in a losing position, then we have already lost.

      We may be poor economically but lets not act like chickens in these talks.

      Your points made at the end of your post are in line with that and that must be our position.

      We elected people to lead and lead they must.

      Its been do dying trying than to just accept whatever comes our way, that is not who we are.

      If our forefathers did not fight to the bitter end, what we enjoy today, we would have have been able to enjoy.

      • Sometimes we have a choice. Sometimes we don’t. Recognizing when you don’t have a choice is not a bad thing if it allows you to move forward.

        If the previous government had recognized that the USA was gonna get their man one way or another (remember that the USA has abducted wanted persons from Mexico already and that was all quite legal according to the American courts) and that this was not something worth fighting over then perhaps today we wouldn’t have been having inquiries over Manatt and the Tivoli Raid and perhaps 73 people would not be dead (in some cases that would be a good thing such as in the case of the innocent people who died, in other cases that wouldn’t necessarily be a good thing in the case of the gunmen who died).

        Had they moved forward on the premise that Dudus’ goose was cooked one way or another then Jamaica would likely have been better off for the mere fact that millions would not have been wasted in inquiries over the effort to resist his extradition and the imbroglio that resulted from finally caving in to the inevitable by which time an army of criminals had been amassed in Dudus’ stronghold with the intention to foolishly continue resisting the inevitable. Jamaica would have been better off too in that our international reputation would not have been damaged even further and most importantly Jamaica would have been better off for the mere fact that lives would not have been lost because the government of the day couldn’t recognize that it was holding the blade and not the handle.

        This analogy also holds true for some example of stupidity on the part of all previous governments going all the way back to 1944 and holds true for the current government as well.

        We don’t recognize well when we don’t really have a choice in some instances and so instead of acting in our OWN best interest (obtaining the least worst deal in those instances) we try to stick it out and hold out for a fantasy which was never going to occur.

        Recognizing when you have a bad hand and then cutting your losses is integral to the second part of my response that you refer to. If you don’t go into the prison deal recognizing that the UK apparently has the power to unilaterally change the arrangements and to also change its laws to allow criminals to be deported without ever spending a day in prison (as opposed to being held in holding/gaol) then you set yourself up for the possibility that come 2020 we see violent offenders being sent back to Jamaica with zero rehabilitation in anyone’s prison’s system while we are still stuck with aging and decrepit prisons which will not house the few of them that the police manage to catch who have committed crimes upon returning to Jamaica. And let’s not kid ourselves…..a Jamaican who committed a violent crime in relation to drugs in the UK is not going to be deported to Jamaica and become a saint. Instead he or she will likely just continue their old ways in Jamaica without hardly a break between committing crime in the UK and committing crime in Jamaica.

        Realizing that, it then becomes much easier to accept that one can opt for a deal where these people get rehabilitated in some way (or at least attempts are made to do so) BUT to then set new goals – having the British fully fund the prison; have the British fund the operations of the prison through debt forgiveness; vastly expand the prison spaces so that we will be prepared to try out some repeat offender laws and see what effect that has on crime; aim to cut crime by taking offenders off the streets and keeping them from being immediately released onto the streets from abroad while we also attempt to keep new offenders from being groomed by delinquent adults in society and through inadequate schooling.

        You don’t get to arrive at the vista of seeking those goals without first realizing what kind of hand you have to play with.

        Golding proudly asserts that he rejected “this deal” (in truth he simply opposed an informal proposal concerning one of the core concepts of the current deal but he didn’t reject what was currently offered), yet we were no closer at any point in his administration to building a new or replacement prison which has been recognized as a necessity for years. Why? Well having not resigned himself to reality, his government continued to engage in the fantasy that “some day” such a prison could be built once the requisite funds were found…a fantasy that previous governments had been subscribing to for decades. So we continued living mentally in the land of tomorrow while the realities of today were dictating something very different to what our dreams were being constructed of.

        • In international dealings or any dealings for that matter, you NEVER go in and show you have a bad hand, that set you up for failure even before you have begun.

          While Britian can change the law, we must recognize that we live in a society where the rule of law is respected and we work with our partners to arrive at positions that are not necessarily very disadvantageous to one vs the other.

          The UK has never been a society (modern Britain) to change establish agreements unilaterally and this is the reason these “discussions” have been taking place for such a long time.

          It has now become urgent and the UK citizens are putting pressure on their goverment to act.

          They have a problem and maybe we can in fact help them, but the agreement should NOT see the tax payers in this country subsiding the UK’s problem.

          UK the should only put uo more money, they should also cover the re-curring cost of these prisoners for their entire sentence.

          My numbers show we pay over $1m to house prisoners and UK the equiavalent of J$6m, so why not pay us the equivalent of let’s say $4m per prisoner, they will still save money.

          Also note that those coming are just the first set, I see those who are convicted in the future being sent here to serve their entire prison sentence.

          We simply cannot accept this deal as it is, its a bad one.

        • We can agree to disagree on that. You are referring to “international dealings” and “never going in to show your bad hand”, but the reality is that in international affairs, the bad hands are obvious to everyone (except often to the the player holding the bad hand who has delusions that either (a) nobody knows how bad their hand is, or (b) that their hand is actually better than it is).

          Are we to really assume that the British, with so many contacts and with MI6 and a High Commission did not know that Jamaica has the poker hand from Hell? Seriously? Come on! Jamaica openly discusses how bad things are in the daily newspapers, on television and radio and the High Commission staff would follow the news daily as well as have contacts with various business interest and stakeholders. The British might well have a better idea of how bad things are for Jamaica than the Jamaican government and opposition themselves.

          Pretending that a country like the UK would not know the often dire straits we find ourselves in when trying to come to some kind of deal with them is only fooling ourselves. Maybe if we were negotiating with Chad or Lesotho then this would be a wise strategy, but with the UK? or France? or the US? or Canada? Forget it. Those countries not only know what is in our hand (a shitty hand) but also are more likely to know the cards we are going to draw before we even get to add them to our hand (to extend the card game analogy further).

          As I said, as ideal as it is to consider international relations as a game of equals the reality is very different. Once you accept that reality you can then make the best of it.

      • “If our forefathers did not fight to the bitter end, what we enjoy today, we would have have been able to enjoy.”

        I’m not exactly sure what you are talking about here, but if you are referring to the end of slavery then it’s best you realize that the end of slavery was due to a confluence of factors including domestic pressure throughout the empire as well as economic factors . The rising of the slaves throughout history did help, but it was not the deciding factor in the 1830s. Yes the slaves were right to rise up because in the end there was always a slim chance of replicating the Haitian Revolution (while hopefully learning from Haiti’s mistakes). But that’s different from recognizing that say….resisting extradition is futile or that the British very well deport violent offenders immediately to Jamaica and substantially have a negative impact on our crime problem.

        If you are referring to our forefathers fighting to the bitter end in regards to independence then you are ascribing to a fantasy since for a long while some of our forefathers did not want independence (Bustamante once equated independence to slavery) and the fight in the 1930s was not about independence but democratic representation. The two are not the same. Montserrat has democratic representation but is not independent.

        In any case the British (after Churchill anyway) were looking to withdraw from around the world as a result of exhaustion from the Second World War. So they were most receptive to demands or requests for independence by that point whereas in 1862 they would not have been.

        • I am referring to the fight to end slavery. We are not and cannot fight the return of Jamaican convicts once the have served out there term in the UK, that is not the issue.

          We certainly can and should fight not to have them serve their prison term in Jamaica at the expense of the taxpayers of this country.

        • It may not be at the expense of the Jamaican taxpayers after all depending on what that extra £5.5 million in the MOU is for…..

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