The Ananda Alert programme is now officially under the purview of the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
This was disclosed by Minister of Local Government and Community Development, Hon. Noel Arscott, as he responded to questions posed by Member of Parliament for West Kingston, Desmond McKenzie on Tuesday (Jan. 15), in the House of Representatives.
He informed the Lower House that Cabinet approved the transfer of Ananda Alert from the Local Government Ministry to the Office of the Children’s Registry (OCR).
“The programme, although well intentioned, was never properly staffed or properly structured in the first place. One officer was assigned to it; in fact, it was put in the Public Relations Department and there was no budgetary allocation for the programme. This thing as a serious matter, about missing children, and it has implications for the reputation of Jamaica in terms of human trafficking. It is a programme, which must be properly resourced and taken seriously,” Mr. Arscott said.
In his comments, Mr. McKenzie, said he wanted the assurance that the programme will operate effectively under the Ministry of Youth and Culture.
“All the requisite skills set reside with the Ministry of Youth and Culture to be able to deal with this properly,” Mr. Arscott stated.
He said the Local Government Ministry will continue to assist and will help to located missing persons through the Social Development Commission (SDC).
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.
The 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 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.