Editorial: Implement Alert For Marco’S Sake

It is almost eight years since Marco Archer was murdered, a killing which shocked Bahamians at a time of too many killings.

Few who were closely involved with the case – family, friends, investigators, reporters – will forget the horror of the 11-year-old’s death.

First, he went missing, then five days later his body was found. It provoked an outcry across The Bahamas. How could this have happened? What kind of country are we if even our children are not safe?

It has taken too long – but at last the MARCO Alert system is coming closer to reality - a reality that might save other children in future.

Yesterday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced the contract signing to implement the MARCO Alert system will happen in two weeks, at a cost of just over $3m.

The system has had one false start already – it was rolled out by the Christie administration but it was unclear if it was ever used, and was swiftly marked down for an overhaul by the Minnis government.

In the event of a missing child, the MARCO Alert will send notifications alerting the public. With Bahamians alerted, there will be extra eyes to look out for a child in danger, extra voices ready to contact the authorities. Minutes can matter in such situations – and this alert will save precious minutes, and hopefully lives.

We cannot pretend it hasn’t taken longer than it should have – Marco himself would have been an adult now if his life hadn’t been taken so young - but if the extra time means getting it right, then we look forward to a system that will make a real difference.

Other parts of Marco’s Law are still in progress – such as the sex offender registry that will now go out to the public for consultation – but this crucial part of the jigsaw is now closer to reality.

We hope there are no last-minute hitches and we can look forward to it being up and running in the near future.

It’s time to see it through. For Marco’s sake, and for all the children whose lives could be saved.

Left in the dark again

You don’t need us to tell you that BPL is continuing to have problems – many of you will have suffered power outages last night. Some might still be experiencing them today.

We would love to report the end is in sight for the constant load shedding by BPL, but we cannot. Nearly 70MW of the company’s power is offline, and it could be another month before things improve.

A statement from BPL yesterday said the company is “vigorously pursuing every available course of action to address these obstacles” before going on to say they are looking at a rate reduction bond process to bring in extra capital for the company’s development. Readers sweating in the dark, we would imagine, are less concerned about the company’s development than they are about the company’s present – which is not up to the task. It is a statement that misses the point.

Customers want to know what is being done now. Customers want to know when this will end. Customers want to know why exactly things have been worse this summer than last. Has more or less been spent on maintenance this year, for example? Vague excuses and explanations aren’t enough - why are these generators out of action?

And what will be done for the customers who find appliances burned out by the constant on again-off again?

The holiday weekend was ruined by BPL being unable to keep on the power. There’s a new weekend coming. Let’s not ruin another one, shall we, BPL?


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