‘Hate crime’ graffiti closes netball courts
Vandals have again defaced public netball courts with vile graffiti, it was revealed yesterday.
Now the courts at Bernard Park in Pembroke have been closed for a clean-up just as young players prepared for the start of the season.
Kimale Evans, president of the Bermuda Netball Association, said the offensive graffiti, first spotted last Friday, was the latest in a string of incidents.
The scrawls on the two courts included “die black whore” and “kill black lesbians”.
A Bermuda Police Service spokesman said that an investigation had been launched, and that witnesses or anyone with information which may lead to the arrest and prosecution of the suspect(s) to contact police on 295-0011.
Ms Evans said: “We're outraged. We don't want young people or anyone else to have to see this or feel that this is OK.
“We live in a society where people have become desensitised to hate crime.
“A memo went around to all the coaches to tell them we don't want anyone to use the facility.”
She said the Department of Youth, Sport and Recreation would tackle the graffiti and that moves were under way to boost security, including the installation of CCTV.
Ms Evans added that the courts had been targeted about six times over the last two years.
She said: “We've had paint spattered all over the central circle in both courts. We've had cooking oil, trash and broken glass.”
Ms Evans said the latest incident was the product of “a very disturbed individual, someone whose mental capacity is not that of a normal person”.
She added that players were now in their preseason training and some teams went ahead with play on the defaced courts at the weekend.
However, a memo was sent out on Monday to tell clubs that further use of the courts had been suspended.
“The BNA said it did “not want any of our members to be subjected to any form of defamatory and discriminatory dialect”.
The memo added: “We will not aid in desensitising our members, both young and young at heart.”
Ms Evans said the BNA had “absolutely no clue” why it would be subjected to repeated attacks.
She added: “It's not like we've received any kind of hate mail.”
“Youth, Sport and Recreation, we hope, will start the work this week and hopefully complete it in a week or so. We just have to pray that nothing happens after that.
“We had to delay the last season a week.
“It definitely affects the clubs unless they can find other places to train.”
Ms Evans said the department had approved the installation of cameras at the park.
She said: “It's just a matter of a contract to get it done. We're hoping this issue is now pressing enough and they feel it should be done immediately.
“The department has been awesome through it all. They're handling it, but it's very costly when you're fixing things over and over.
“It's also our hope that at some point we can get some taller fencing.”
Ms Evans said anyone with information on the crime, or anyone who may have seen anything suspicious at the courts, should contact the police.
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