Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday that the kidnapping of a three-year-old boy over the weekend should act as a wake up call for The Bahamas and lead to the full implementation of the MARCO Alert system.
“I think the time has come,” Davis said when called for comment.
“I mean this is a wake up call. Thankfully the child is alive today but this is the wake up call for us to consider implementing all of those provisions.”
The system was initially introduced in July 2016 when then Commissioner of Police Ellison Greenslade issued a force order mandating that officers bypass the 24-hour requirement to record missing persons’ reports and that they do so immediately as a part of the MARCO Alert system.
In July 2018, the restructured system was launched as a pilot program that was expected to last three months, according to Chief Superintendent Zhivago Dames.
However, Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean said the program is still in the testing phase.
On Saturday, while he was riding his bicycle in front of his family’s South Beach home, Shavar Bain, 3, was kidnapped by two women in a silver car, police reported.
Police said he was dropped off at a wash house on Joe Farrington Road and Fox Hill Road shortly after 7 a.m. on Sunday.
Police reported the incident at 1:25 a.m. Sunday, five hours after the media inquired.
Davis said that it was concerning that a three-year-old could be abducted with “no alarm [being] raised”.
“The time has come for the attention to be paid to these protective measures, including the full fledged sex offenders registry and Marco’s law,” he said.
Davis said the government should put a call out for all stakeholders involved in child protection to ensure that incidents like this are not repeated.
“The government has a responsibility of ensuring that protective measures are in place to avoid incidents of abduction of children,” he said.
The incident has raised concerns about the delayed introduction of the MARCO Alert, which was named after 11-year-old Marco Archer, who was gruesomely murdered in 2011.
The MARCO Alert system was expected to be similar to the U.S. Amber Alert, which is a voluntary partnership involving law enforcement agencies, broadcasters, transportation agencies and the wireless industry to activate an urgent bulletin in serious child abduction cases.
The day Archer disappeared, authorities told his relatives they had to wait 24 hours before investigating, according to former Minister of National Security the late Dr. Bernard Nottage.
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