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Contract signed for MARCO’s Alert

A day before what would have been Marco Archer’s 19th birthday, the government yesterday signed a $3.1 million contract with Multimedia Technologies for the development of MARCO’s Alert system.

Archer was kidnapped near his home and later murdered in September 2011.

Police found the 11-year-old’s naked body dumped in bushes a week after he vanished while running an errand for his mother.

MARCO’s Alert system is 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.

Archer’s sister, Tancia Humes, said yesterday that the contract signing has given the family “comfort and closure”.

“It’s definitely something to celebrate,” she said.

“We are honored, and we are happy about it. It’s something that we were lobbying for and hoping for for a while and it’s here.

“It’s a silver lining for us. It gives us some hope, and it gives us comfort and closure. It’s still a tragedy for us, and we still cry and remember him from day to day, but now we can smile about it as well. When we see his face and we think about back in 2011 and now it’s 2019 and we have something to smile about.

“So yeah, it’s something to celebrate. We’re celebrating Marco today rather than back in the day when we were crying about him; now we celebrate his life and what he has done for the nation.”

Minister of National Security Marvin Dames said the implementation of MARCO’s Alert is personal for him as a father of two children.

“Tomorrow, the 22nd of August, is Marco’s birthday and he would have turned 19 years,” he said.

“He once indicated to his mother that he wanted to be a policeman to arrest the bad guys.

“While Marco may never suit up in a uniform, Marco’s Law and MARCO’s Alert, both named in his honor, will ensure that he will always play a critical role in assisting the police in arresting bad guys. I can think of no better way to honor his memory and ensure that we never forget our individual and collective responsibility to safeguarding the well-being of our children.”

He added, “The circumstances surrounding the kidnapping were disturbing and ultimately terrifying for a nation in which it is common to see our children moving freely throughout their communities unaccompanied and without any fear of being abducted by some disturbed individual.

“The details of this and other missing children’s cases do not convey the sense of urgency and danger that such abductions represent.

“…The issue is of great concern and all parents’ worst nightmare.”

Dames added, “Based on our technology, and our knowledge about what works in responding to child abductions, we have evolved over the decades. The Mandatory Aggressive Action for Rescuing Children Operation, or MARCO’s Alert, will bring together collective partnership and alliances between corporate Bahamas, the police force and civil society.”

He added, “Today’s contract signing should also send a strong message to criminals that crimes against children are intolerable, and we will utilize all available resources to bring our children back home safely.”

Dames also recognized the contributions of former Minister of National Security the late Dr. Bernard Nottage in “championing the cause that would see the enactment of Marco’s Law”.

Once it is available on the Royal Bahamas Police Force’s website, residents will be able to go online and register to receive alerts when children are reported missing.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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