Categorized | National News

Marco’s Law In Full Effect–Talks In Motion For Sexual Offenders Registry

Some good has come out of the disappearance and subsequent death of an 11-year-old boy nearly five years ago.

Loved ones will no longer have to wait 24 hours before authorities begin searching for a missing child.

Instead, such a case will be pursued with the “maximum degree of urgency.

The new regulation is part of Marco’s Law, named in honour of Columbus Primary student Marco Archer who was reported missing on September 23, 2011 after he did not return home from running an errand.

Relatives claimed they were turned away by police who said they could do nothing until 24 hours had passed.

Five days later, Archer’s badly decomposed body was found behind an apartment complex in the Cable Beach area.

An autopsy revealed that among other things, the youngster had been sexually molested.

Convicted pedophile Kofhe Goodman was the culprit.

In October 2013, Goodman was sentenced to death for the crime.

“The regulations moving forward under Marco’s Law will now provide that degree of stability of any society that could be judged by how it cares about those who are most at risk and most vulnerable.

“The view the country should have of its youth is that they are first an extension of us, an investment in our future, a continuation of our legacy and the sole reason for our existence,” National Security Minister Dr. Bernard Nottage said on Friday during a press briefing on the new law.

“No form of intrusion that seeks to destroy their innocence should be tolerated at any level. We should have a strict no tolerance rule when it comes to our children and a swift firm and strong hand should be brought together with any incursion into their innocence.”

The Mandatory Action Rescuing Children Operation (MARCO) Alert is similar to the amber alert in the United States.

The commissioner of police will hold and disseminate a force order that makes it mandatory for a Marco’s Alert to be issued should the missing child fit the criteria of the Marco’s Law procedure.

“Once an alert has been issued, a form has to be completed that calls for the child’s name, age, sex, type, weight, color hair and eyes, scars of any kind and it also provides a space for describing in the case of abductions where someone may have seen the missing person.” Dr. Nottage explained.

The media will also play an important role. In such cases, all media houses, electronic networks, radio stations, television broadcasts will be used to disseminate the alert.

Officials are exploring the idea of making this mandatory.

According to Social Services Minister Melanie Griffin, should a situation occur where the missing child is found or a child is found to simply be a runaway or lives in an unfit environment, alternate procedures would take place.

“Social Services would be called in this situation to make an assessment,” she said.

“There is a process after the social history is done and has determined the child should not be allowed back. First of all we would pursue other family members and once we’ve exhausted all other avenues and the child is of a certain age, they would be taken into the care of the minster or the care of the state.”

Archer’s family members and others have also called for a Sexual Offenders Registry.

When asked about the likelihood of this happening anytime soon, Dr. Nottage said only that “talks are in motion and regulations are being processed.”


Written by Jones Bahamas

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