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Christian Council pushes for enactment of MARCO’s Alert

Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) President Bishop Delton Fernander yesterday stressed the need for the enactment of an alert system for missing children following a second report of a child abduction in New Providence in less than a month.

Police said a six-year-old girl was abducted by a man from her home off Wilton Street shortly after 2 a.m. on Sunday.

She was found unharmed a short time later, according to police.

This incident came two weeks after a three-year-old boy was kidnapped while riding his bicycle in front of his South Beach home.

He was allegedly kidnapped by two women in a silver car and dropped off at a wash house on Joe Farrington Road and Fox Hill Road the following morning.

Addressing the recent incidents, Fernander said, “This shows as a nation that our moral fiber is moving in the wrong direction. These were incidents that were not normally attributed to the Bahamian society.

“We have to look at ourselves and do what’s necessary to correct this behavior. [The] MACRO Alert will go a long way in alerting the society and as a church we stand in agreement with the Child Protection [Council] that it’s time now.

“I know the Minister (of National Security Marvin Dames) said it’s not long but with the increase, two is too many and we are [ready for the alert to be] enacted.”

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.

Yesterday, Minister of National Security Marvin Dames told reporters that the testing of the program is completed and that it would’ve made “no sense in going there and buying something and not knowing if it works”.

“We would’ve ironed out all of the kinks, all of the issues immediately after the testing phase. We now have a proposal that we will be submitting very shortly and we will be doing that.” 

MARCO Alert 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.

Jasper Ward

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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