NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government is working on establishing a location for its Sex Offender Registry by the end of the year, according to Minister of National Security Marvin Dames.
The Registration of Sex Offenders Regulations was tabled in Parliament in July 2019, but has yet to be debated or passed.
Asked about the registry during his ministry’s report to the nation on Monday, Dames said: “We are now working towards testing or creating a site to test the efficiencies of the registry.
“That’s going to require some financial injection because we have to find a location and we also have to staff it up.
“With that in mind, we are looking at piloting a location certainly before the year is out, to test the effectiveness of it.
“We will move from there to introduce additional locations throughout the country as needed.”
The sex offender register would place all persons who are convicted of sexual offenses on the proposed list.
Under the regulations, the commissioner of the Bahamas Department of Corrections has to notify the minister of a release six months before the intended release date of the offender.
Plans for a sex offender registry was introduced under the former Christie administration in 2013 with an amendment to the Sexual Offences Act.
The move came after the murder of 11-year-old Marco Archer in 2011.
His death gripped the nation, prompting amendments to the Child Protection Act and the establishment of a MARCO’s Alert System for missing children.
The government signed a $3.1 million contract with Multimedia Technologies for the development of MARCO’s Alert system last August.
On Monday, Police Commissioner Paul Rolle said in order to facilitate the MARCO’s Alert system, four billboards were erected at the roundabout at Lynden Pindling International Airport, RM Bailey Park, West Bay Street and Chippingham Road, and at the SC McPherson School on Blue Hill Road.
He said: “These billboards will facilitate the broadcast of important messages about missing children and are scheduled to be activated in short order.”