JIS News

The Ananda Alert System has been strengthened with an allocation of $9 million, as part of efforts to bolster its response and recovery mechanism.

The Ananda Alert is a nationwide system, designed to ensure a speedy and safe recovery of a child in the unfortunate event that he/she is missing or abducted.

Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, on Tuesday, May 14, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), aimed at enhancing the Ananda Alert System through a multi-sectoral approach, at the Courtleigh Hotel in Kingston.

Ms. Hanna informed that the additional resources to the system will ensure that the required staffing and management mechanisms are in place to support the programme.

She added that the allocation will also enable the streamlining of efforts whenever a child is reported missing.

The Minister underscored that the recovery of missing children cannot be the sole responsibility of the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR), the Ministry, or even the Police, who have been a critical partner since the inception of the programme.

“The success requires the partnership and the co-ordination of all sectors, not only private sector, but certainly all sectors in this country. It should be our duty to take responsibility for each and every child, whether they are biologically ours or not,” she said.

Ms. Hanna informed that since the transfer of the Ananda Alert System to the OCR in March 2013, a series of consultations have been held with various key stakeholders, with the aim of finding fast and effective methods to lead to the safe recovery of children who have gone missing.

“The success of the search and rescue activities requires the co-ordinated and relentless efforts of the Police and every Jamaican citizen to help save a child,” she said, adding that technology and social media are playing critical roles in this effort.

Prior to the transfer, the Ananda Alert System was operated by the Ministry of Local Government and Community Development.

Under the Ananda Alert System, when a child is reported missing, the name and picture will be publicised on various media, such as television, radio, billboards and multimedia equipment in stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and other locations.

“This will strengthen the likelihood of a missing child being identified much sooner, and decreases the possibility of any harm coming to the child. The role of the media is vital and I urge all media houses to continue and expand their contribution of time and space for the recovery of missing children,” she said.

Reiterating the Government’s commitment to safeguarding the rights of the nation’s children, Ms. Hanna said policies and programmes aimed at protecting them, have been bolstered in the 2013/14 budgetary allocations.

The MoU, which was signed by various stakeholders, is aimed at raising public awareness concerning missing children and also seeks to strengthen rescue, recovery and intervention measures that are vital to the welfare of child victims and their families.

Signatories included representatives from: the Child Development Agency; the Jamaica Information Service; the Office of the Children’s Advocate; the Creative Production and Training Centre (CPTC); the Public Broadcasting Corporation of Jamaica; the Ministries of Youth and Culture, Health, Education, Justice, Local Government and Community Development, National Security, and Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

The Ananda Alert system involves the mobilization of stakeholders into getting the message of a missing child into the public domain the moment the matter is reported to the police.

The aim is to create a rapid response from law enforcement personnel and communities to help bring the matter to public attention, with the aim of increasing the chances of a safe recovery and return to family, guardian and/or place of safety.

Contact: Chris Patterson