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Mussenden ‘baffled by anti-social’ probe

BFA president Larry Mussenden has said he is ‘absolutely stumped’ by Glenn Blakeney’s decision to investigate how football and cricket were combating anti-social behaviour on the Island.

The Sports Minister has directed his newly-formed Commission of Inquiry to ‘examine the extent to which the Bermuda Football Association and the Bermuda Cricket Board have used grant funding to address anti-social behaviours exhibited by athletes and spectators’.

However, Mussenden said that neither national governing body had been directed to use their grant funding in that way and said it was beyond him how the BCB and BFA were expected to be the ones to combat an Island-wide social problem.

“There is anti-social behaviour throughout Bermuda, from schools right through the community. How it is that we were supposed to use grant funding to address anti-social behaviour is beyond me.

“I’ll tell you what we have done, the BFA set aside funds for clubs to be able to train stewards, match commissioners, we also provided them with security equipment, we’ve employed policemen. We can tell the public exactly how much of the funds we used to ensure a safe and secure environment at football matches. F

“For the record, touch wood, there has been very little anti-social behaviour and violence at football grounds over the last few years, whatsoever. On the whole football players and spectators have been very well behaved at matches under our sanction.”

The BFA boss also challenged the Minister to show how he was spending his ministry’s money on tackling the issue and also questioned why Government had held countless Town Hall meetings on the economy, but hadn’t gone into areas such as Parkside, or 42nd Street to discuss gang violence.

“I would challenge the Minister, when he appears in front of a Commission, perhaps he can actually say what funds have been used by his ministry, how has his ministry addressed the anti-social behaviour in the country,” said Mussenden.

“I also make this point, we’ve had Government do Town Hall meetings on the economy, there have been several of those. Has there been an official Town Hall meeting on violence in the community? Has there been a Town Hall meeting in the Parkside area, has there been one up at the 42nd Street, or in Somerset, or any areas where we say gangs are gathering?

“Perhaps somebody can come and tell the Commission about what the Minister has done in order to address those particular issues of anti-social behaviour.”

Mussenden also took exception to Minister Blakeney implying that things had gone wrong within the BCB and BFA. During his press conference to announce the Commission, the Minister said he ‘would imagine from peeling the layers (back) . . . the Commission would be able to go below the surface in hopefully determining where some of this started to go way off the path’.

“Who says anything has gone wrong?,” said Mussenden, “In my view nothing has gone wrong, we have spent the money exactly how we said we would, in a series of strategic plans, all of which have been shared with the Ministry.

“Football does a huge amount and there is nobody that will be able to doubt that the use of the money that we had helped to develop young people in Bermuda. That’s why I want the inquiry to be public and that’s why it should not be private.

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Published September 27, 2011 at 2:00 am (Updated September 27, 2011 at 9:16 am)

Mussenden ‘baffled by anti-social’ probe

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