Netball makes public appeal after Bernard Park courts are given ‛paint job’ by vandals
Already hampered by the suspension of play because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Bermuda Netball Association was victimised further over the weekend when the Bernard Park courts were again targeted by vandals.
BNA president Kamale Evans has reignited the appeal for public assistance.
“I was contacted by [the Department] Youth, Sport and Recreation and can confirm that it was another form of vandalism that took place at the Bernard Park courts,” Evans said yesterday.
“It is costing the Government tons of money to continually to have to fix this. It also delays persons being able to train because they can’t train on the court when they are still wet.”
Vandalism of the courts started in 2016 and, after a quiet period recently, the culprits struck again on Friday night by throwing paint bottles on to the playing area from the roadside.
“The person is obviously very much aware that we have cameras because it appears they are taking their time to get paint and fill it into glass bottles, which they are throwing down on to the courts,” Evans added.
She said the paint used may be paint that is discarded at the nearby Tynes Bay incinerator.
“One of our major concerns is that the Tynes Bay waste facility has a drop-off area for paint that is free for anyone to access,” Evans said.
“They are making sure they have colours that are going to stand out. We cannot seem to understand the reason they are continually doing this, but we implore the public to get involved.
“It looked like it took place around 11 o’clock on Friday, just before curfew. I want to put a plea to someone who has the ability to assist us to contact us on e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
“We welcome somebody who can assist in cleaning up, someone who may have the resources and material to repaint the surface, because that is also a huge expense.
“The last time we had this vandalism has been a while. It seems the only way we’re going to stop this is to catch the culprit in the act.”
Evans says the latest act of vandalism is a setback for netball at a time when sport is starting to return to some degree of normalcy after Covid-19 forced a halt to competitive action in early December.
Netball teams are in phase three of the four-stage Return to Play plan introduced by the health department, but the damage to the courts leaves them with nowhere to train.
“People are really missing sport and not just for the fitness benefits,” Evans told The Royal Gazette recently.
“Sport plays a major role in young people’s development and there are so many benefits that go way beyond fitness.
“Netball is a huge sport for the island; we have more than 400 registered players and they are all missing out at the moment.”
Evans added: “We just got back to training and need to socially distance, but now this takes us away from an area of the court that we cannot utilise.
“This has been happening a long time; five years is too much! We’ve been asking Government to give us a safe facility and Youth, Sport and Recreation did put up fencing and lights, which are lit all night.
“Anybody who might see somebody suspicious around there, please contact the police. If you see something, say something.”