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Minister satisfied with police handling of Marco Archer case

Minister of National Security Tommy Turnquest said yesterday he is satisfied that police “followed the proper protocol” in handling the missing person’s report filed by the family of 11-year-old Marco Archer on September 23.

Several weeks ago, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said he was not opposed to an inquiry into the matter.

Turnquest told The Nassau Guardian yesterday, “I am satisfied myself, with regard to the timelines in terms of what the police did when they were contacted [regarding] a missing boy and the various places they checked and the patrols that they did.”

As has been widely reported, the boy’s body was found on September 28 in bushes behind an apartment complex in Cable Beach, fueling widespread public outrage.

In the House of Assembly on October 5, Ingraham approved a request by Bain and Grants Town MP Dr. Bernard Nottage for an inquiry into how police handled the missing persons report.

Dr. Nottage suggested at the time that police were slow to act after receiving the report.

He said the boy’s family reported Marco missing at 11 p.m. at Quakoo Street Police Station and was informed that police do not act on missing person’s reports until a person has been missing for 24 to 48 hours.

“Despite the fact that they pointed out to the officer they were reporting a missing 11-year-old boy, they were told to come back in the morning,” said Dr. Nottage, adding that the family searched the Brougham Street area where the boy went missing, phoned relatives and visited Princess Margaret Hospital.

At 2 a.m., the boy’s relatives returned to Quakoo Street Police Station and met another officer on duty who was very cooperative, took a statement from them and asked them to bring in a photo of Marco, according to Dr. Nottage.  The officer reported that the matter would be transferred to the Central Detective Unit.

He added that relatives returned to the police station around 6 a.m. to inquire whether police had started looking for the boy and got the impression that they had not, nor had the statement been forwarded to CDU.

Dr. Nottage pointed out that although the family provided a photo as requested, it was not until two days later that the missing person’s case was broadcast and the child’s photo shown.

But Turnquest said yesterday he does not believe there is a need to change the procedures relating to how missing person’s reports are handled.

“I think the police are very sensitive to missing children reports,” he said.  “I think protocol that is currently in place if followed out properly there is no problem.”

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