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The tragic kidnapping and murder of 16-year-old Jasmine Lowe hit hard the hearts of Belizeans across the country and her death initiated a movement to address the issue of kidnapping and abductions of children. On Tuesday, July 31, 2012, the Jasmine Alert system was launched in Belize that involves a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies, and the wireless industry, and its aim is to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases.

The Jasmine Alert should instantly mobilize the entire nation to assist in the search for and the safe recovery of any abducted child 17 and under. Organizers hope that the initiative will elicit a unified nationwide response. The system is named after Jasmine Lowe of Santa Elena, who went missing and was later found dead less than two months ago.

Here is how it works:
If a child is kidnapped anywhere in the country and somebody sees it and calls 911 - the police will get notified. They will immediately call the national coordinator who is Inspector Ms. Augustine who will decide if the report meets the criteria of a Jasmine Alert. If it does, she will immediately advise both telecommunications companies (SMART & BTL) and the media that there was an abduction. Ms. Augustine will send out a text type material that will be put out by both SMART and BTL. The media starts to broadcast that across the nation so that everyone can be looking for the vehicle or the individual that performed the crime.

“We don’t want to recover our children, we want to rescue them,” commented Patrick Menzies, Program Director, Jasmine Alert to the media. “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.”

Insp. Dehanne Augustine, National Coordinator of Jasmine Alert stated the she will participate in a country-wide tour to sensitize all law enforcers, police, immigration, coast guard and customs officials on the Jasmine Alert Program and let them know what is their role in the program. (News sources: News 7 and Channel 5 News)

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Dorian Nuñez

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