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Nottage: I Took Marco’s Death Personally

Bains Town and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage yesterday admitted that he took the brutal death of one of his young constituents “personally” and was in great conflict over how police handled the investigation.

He was leading off debate on bills to amend the Child Protection Act and the Sexual Offences Act.

The former will establish a Marco Alert to help find abducted children and the latter will establish a sex offender registry.

The alert – an acronym for “Mandatory Action for Rescuing Children Operation” – is named in honour of 11-year-old Marco Archer, who was abducted from his Brougham Street home on September 23, 2011.

The boy’s badly decomposed body was discovered five days later in bushes behind a Cable Beach apartment complex.

Convicted child molester, Kofhe Goodman was convicted of Marco’s murder and has since been sentenced to death.

Marco’s family took the police to task after reporting him missing and being told that they could not investigate his disappearance for 24-48 hours.

“I took it personally. I didn’t have the resources to find him, but I promised myself that I would not rest until we found him and when we found him I promised myself that whenever we got the opportunity in this place, I would do whatever I could to bring some changes to our laws so that other children didn’t have to go missing in those circumstances,” Dr. Nottage said.

“Their care, their whereabouts, discovering where they are should be treated with the maximum degree of urgency. There is no set time or template as to when to spring into action.”

He added, “I expect the authorities, whose responsibility it is, to secure our society and to enforce our laws to do the very same thing. Every case has to be evaluated on its own merit. But, that evaluation should be swift and not delayed.”

Marco’s mother, Tryphemia Meadows, along with one of her daughters, sat in the gallery of the House of Assembly listening to debate.

At times she could be seen quietly sobbing.

Dr. Nottage, who is also the national security minister, said during the search for Marco, he discovered that there were many houses in his constituency occupied by adult males believed to be pedophiles.

“What was also interesting, and society has to know this, as I went to the home to commiserate [with Marco’s mother] there were parents of other young boys who would come to the home to visit this mother and they would tell you about what happened to their sons. And you would almost believe that there was at least a mini epidemic of deviant sexual activity, Mr. Speaker involving our children that we had to and still have to get to the bottom of,” he said.

The amendment will also make provisions for a national sex offender registry, which will be located at Her Majesty’s Prison (HMP).

Sex offenders will have to comply with being placed on the register.

Minister Nottage said they can avoid being placed on the register for the first offence.

Thereafter, they would have to be on it for a minimum of 10 years.

Ianthia Smith

Written by Ianthia Smith

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