US Amber Alert adopted as Jasmine Alert in Belize
The spate of heinous attacks on young children, particularly the murder of Jasmine Lowe, has sparked a national movement to address the issue of the kidnappings and abductions of children. This morning, the system, Jasmine Alert, was launched. It involves the mobilization of stakeholders to get the message of a missing child into the public domain the minute it is reported to police. Organizers hope that initiative will elicit a unified nationwide response to increase the chances of the endangered child to be rescued and returned to safety. The system is named after Jasmine Lowe of Santa Elena, who went missing and was later found dead less than two months ago. News Five’s Andrea Polanco was present for the launch of Jasmine Alert at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza.
Andrea Polanco, Reporting
Jasmine Alert, Belize’s child kidnapping warning system was launched today. The J.A. program is a voluntary partnership with the law enforcement agencies, media, business community and telecommunications companies. It is a nationwide system designed to ensure speedy and safe recovery of a child if he or she is kidnapped or abducted; it is fashioned after the U.S.’ Amber Alert.
Patrick Menzies, Program Director, Jasmine Alert
“That my brethren, is the actual alert sound utilized, for example, in the U.S. by different segments of the members of the media houses to be able to alert the nation that there is an amber alert. We don’t want to recover our children, we want to rescue them. We don’t want to pass the three hour time frame. We want to do this within three hours; three hours of a kidnapping is the most critical; the first three hours.”
The program is the first of its kind to be implemented in Belize, will be coordinated by Inspector Dehanne Augustine.
Insp. Dehanne Augustine, National Coordinator, Jasmine Alert
“What I am to do is to do a country wide tour to sensitize all law enforcers, police, immigration, coast guard, customs, on the Jasmine Alert Program and what’s their role. Additionally, effort will also be made to visit the media houses to further sensitize the community. I will be identifying two police officers in every district to be the Jasmine Alert district coordinator; liaise with national coordinator from Mexico. Also to make this program effective, we are working with our two telephone companies to identify a number assigned to the national coordinator that is only available to police officers. The police officers who receive the report will contact the national coordinator, who will receive all relevant information and will in return contact assigned coordinators from the phone companies with this information to send as a sms. Similarly we will do the same in relaying information to the media houses.”
The Jasmine Alert program is in the honour of the sprightly thirteen year old, Jasmine Lowe of Santa Elena, Cayo. The teen was reported missing and less than two days later she was discovered murdered on June sixth. Chris Lowe recognizes that the Jasmine Alert will be instrumental.
Chris Lowe, Father of Jasmine Lowe
“This Jasmine Alert is a great start; our children are precious and need protection. Let us send a message to the rapist, pedophiles, molesters, murderers and sick individuals to seek help, mend their ways or move on. Protect our children, protect our future; God, please bless Belize.”
Reporting for News Five, I’m Andrea Polanco.
BTL, Smart, Fultec Systems and the Belize Bus Association are only a few who have signed onto this initiative. For further details on the Jasmine Alert, you can check out www.jasminealert.com