MEMBERS OF THE ACTIVIST GROUP SOLIDARITY242, WHO ARE ASKING BAHAMIANS TO SUPPORT THEIR PUSH FOR A SEX OFFENDERS REGISTRY AND MISSING CHILDREN ALERT SYSTEM. (PHOTO: SOLIDARITY 242)
NASSAU, Bahamas, Friday July 22, 2016 – A non-profit activist group is urging Bahamians to join an online protest today to pressure government into opening a Sex Offenders Registry and Marco Alert system for missing children.
The push by Solidarity242 comes almost five years after the murder of 11-year-old Marco Archer – a tragedy that triggered calls for the Sex Offenders Registry. In October 2013, Kofhe Goodman was sentenced to death for abducting, kidnapping and eventually murdering Archer. According to the prosecution, he committed the crime for his “sadistic sexual gratification”.
Goodman had been convicted of unnatural sexual intercourse in 1993 and was also jailed for the attempted murder of a nine-year-old boy.
“It has been five years since The Bahamas was rocked by the brutal death of Marco Archer and yet Marco’s Law is not fully functional. There is no Sex Offenders Registry, there is no Marco Alert,” said Kishlane Knowles, co-founder of Solidarity242.
“Our children are being left vulnerable and we as Bahamians have to push back and demand that the government does its part in protecting our children, as promised.”
In 2013, Freeport saw the loss of five young boys, all of whom went missing, all of whom were murdered. In June of 2015, Minister for Social Services, Melanie Griffin revealed in her 2015/2016 Budget Address that there had been an increase in the reported cases of sexual abuse and incest incidents involving children.
Earlier this year, a retired police officer pleaded guilty to molesting three siblings.
“Sexual predators are walking among us, nameless and faceless. We don’t know who they are until they have hurt a child. When a child goes missing there is no systematic way of alerting the general public immediately. How many children between 2011 and 2016 could have been saved from sexual abuse and/or abduction had the government implemented the elements involved in Marco’s Law? Let’s really think about that,” Knowles said.
At 6 p.m. today, Bahamians all over the country and abroad are being asked to visit the Marco’s Law viral protest event on the Solidarity242 Facebook page for ways to get involved in the social media demonstration.
“There will be hashtags, a temporary profile picture for supporters to download and two other elements that we are keeping under wraps until Friday’s launch”, revealed Selina Archer, who created the viral protest concept and plan specifically for Solidarty242.
“The protest has been designed to be inclusive of all Bahamians no matter what island they live on or what country they live in. The beauty of the viral protest is that all the activities can be done online from the comfort of a smart phone, tablet or computer.”
Knowles, along with Solidarity242 co-founders Lisa Davis and Shenique Fisher will use the social push to aggressively pursue answers from government once the protest is over.