The Jasmine Alert was founded in 2012 after 13-year-old Jasmine Lowe was abducted in the Cayo District. Lowe’s body was eventually found in a pasture in Cristo Rey. The alert, which mimics the Amber Alert in the US, serves to help children like Jasmine, who are missing and in imminent danger. Due to the nature of the organization’s work, it has to work closely with the police department. The Founder of Jasmine Alert, Patrick Menzies, stated that this has not always been a smooth ride. However, with a recently signed MOU between the organization and the police’s legal advisor, Bart Jones, it is expected that there will be more cooperation between the two entities.
Patrick Menzies, Founder, Jasmine Alert: “We were working on reviewing and having a new MOU. The MOU was signed on the 22nd of January a couple days ago and so now we have a lot of clarifications on how we will be working together and it’s very very exciting because what it does it actually puts in place stuff that we have been speaking about for a while but now we have the commander for CIB and the attorney for the Police Department who is Bart Jones so we will be working in collaboration to make sure things work a lot smoother and if you look at the last case with Christopher, the last case that we were involved in the young man that was killed from Yo Creek we were actually in collaboration with the commander also of CIB so that was a little bit smoother than some things we’ve done in the past. Now I know there are a bunch of kids missing right now and we are not involved in those, we didn’t have the connection anymore, but with this MOU stuff should start to come back into place so that people can know whats happening and we can get on the ball and advise people on where we are. Mr.Jones who is the legal voice of the police department looked at the law and so did the CIB commander and we sat down all three of us and we looked at where we are and where we need to go. So number one, the Jasmine Alert will be an automatic alert in the following cases; the minor is under the age of 16 and the perpetrator us 18 years or older. Automatically it’s an alert in coordination with the law. Next , the minor is 14 years or younger and the perpetrator is three or more years older then the minor okay? So those are automatic alerts. So we’re very excited, we thank God for what’s being done, we thank God for the new commissioner and the involvement now of Mr.Bart Jones awesome attorney, great guy to work with and the commander of CIB another great guy to work with. We’ve very excited and we know that Belize’s children will be better served and better protected now with the program with this new MOU.”
The Jasmine Alert also has a basic requirement for alerts to be automatically issued. This includes if a law enforcement agency believes that the minor is in danger of receiving serious injury or death; if there is enough descriptive information about the victim or the abduction for law enforcement to issue an alert to assist in the rescue of the child; and finally, if the abduction is of a minor 17 years or younger.