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Ananda Alert to be displayed on billboards, public transportation

Published:Thursday | May 16, 2013 | 12:00 AM

Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer

MINISTER OF Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna has said that technology and social media will play an integral role in an enhanced Ananda Alert system.

Hanna said this on Tuesday at the signing of a memorandum of understanding aimed at enhancing the Ananda Alert System through a multisectoral approach. The signing took place at The Courtleigh Hotel in New Kingston.

"We are going to be using billboards and other multimedia equipment in stores, supermarkets, pharmacies and other locations as this will strengthen the likelihood of our missing children being identified much sooner, and decreases the possibility of any harm coming to these children," Hanna said.

"The success requires the partnership and coordination of all sectors, not only from the private sector but certainly all persons in this country," she added.

Joint Initiative

Greig Smith, registrar at the Office of the Children's Registry noted that several new stakeholders are set to join the initiative, such as the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Transport and Works, and several other private entities.

Smith outlined some of the new initiatives, most of which were centred around displaying images of the missing child as a more effective measure of relaying the information to the public.

"In relation to the Ministry of Transport and Works, there will be pictures of those children being flashed on the sides of the JUTC buses that are able to," Smith said.

"The Route Taxi Association also have their methods of how they communicate, so if a child is missing, kidnapped or abducted from a rural area, like Linstead, that child mostly travels on public transportation and so we want to get the Route Taxi Association onboard" he added.

Smith also stated that stop orders would be placed at the island's two major international airports.

"The Media Association of Jamaica is also on board to ensure that whichever programme is being aired, we want to see some strips indicating that the child is missing. We don't want to wait until 'Prime Time News' to see the plans coming into effect," Smith added.

Hanna commented on the strides being made to ensure the safety of our nation's children and expressed confidence in the measures being implemented.

"Together, I know we can make Jamaica the best place for our children to live. They are depending on us. We must take the fear out of their hearts, out of their mouths to speak and we must give them the attention that they deserve at all times," she declared.