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Microsoft Corporation will be providing Jamaica with the software called the Child Abducting Tracking System – CATS, which is used by major police forces worldwide to help track missing children. This was disclosed by Minister of State who has responsibility for the Department of Local Government in the Office of the Prime Minister, Hon. Bobby Montague.
The software valued at an estimated J$18-million (US$200,000) provides data that links all police forces throughout the world and will allow Jamaica to tap into that source to access information that will assist in the search when a child goes missing. Microsoft will also provide training for members of the Jamaica police force and will be responsible for upgrading the equipment.
Minister Montague’s report was made this morning at the launch of the Ananda Alert system by Prime Minister the Hon. Bruce Golding at Jamaica House. The Ananda Alert was named in tribute to 11-year old Ananda Dean who was murdered last year.
Mr. Montague said representatives of Microsoft will be visiting Jamaica next month to conduct workshops and to look at the existing facilities with a view to determining the extent of the company’s assistance. Microsoft’s commitment was made at last week’s Commonwealth Local Government Conference in the Bahamas.
Under the Ananda Alert programme, when a child goes missing, a report is made to the nearest police station or by calling 119. The police will then alert all Ananda Alert stakeholders including the media houses, mobile companies, local authorities, parish councils; and these will then mobilise community groups.
After 12-hours, photos of the missing child are placed on electronic/mobile billboards, in shops, supermarkets, community centre, church halls, schools and post offices. There will also be a website www.anandaalertjm.com at which information can be accessed.