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.
Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has called on justices of the peace (JPs) to assist the Government and the security forces in fighting crime. Minister of Justice, Hon. Delroy Chuck, has called on justices of the peace (JPs) to assist the Government and the security forces in fighting crime.Speaking at the annual general meeting of the Portland Chapter of the Lay Magistrates’ Association, which was held on January 26 in Buff Bay, the Minister said JPs are appointed community leaders with an upper hand to help control crime.“We want to organise the JPs in every parish properly, because they must play a more active role in the lives of Jamaicans. Jamaica needs leaders, as there is a vacuum of leadership at all levels,” the Minister said.Mr. Chuck argued that many persons who should take on leadership roles have yielded, remained silent and retreated to their homes, resulting in “the corrupt, criminals, gangsters and indisciplined (seeking) to take over”.“This is where I want to call on all the justices of the peace to offer the leadership that Jamaica requires in every square metre across Jamaica,” the Minister said.He argued that although Jamaicans look to members of the Government to provide leadership at the highest level and to intervene in criminal matters, they need the support of appointed leaders, such as justices of the peace, who often live directly in the communities with persons who are involved in criminal activities.“We cannot do it alone. All of us who want to see a better Jamaica must stop complaining about what others are doing and… step forward and make a difference. All of us in our own small way can make an impact, not only on our community but Jamaica. Justices of the peace, we have to start with ourselves, to clean up our act, and to make ourselves the leaders of (the) morality… decency… (and) discipline that Jamaica requires right now,” the Minister said.Mr. Chuck said many JPs have remained silent and have not reported issues that need to be addressed in their communities.“The only thing for evil to prosper is if good men remain silent. It is for you to stand up as the good people and let those who want to destroy Jamaica know that they cannot achieve it, because individually and collectively you will fight back and expose them,” he said. “We want to organise the JPs in every parish properly, because they must play a more active role in the lives of Jamaicans. Jamaica needs leaders, as there is a vacuum of leadership at all levels,” the Minister said. Story Highlights Mr. Chuck argued that many persons who should take on leadership roles have yielded, remained silent and retreated to their homes, resulting in “the corrupt, criminals, gangsters and indisciplined (seeking) to take over”.