A local business was vandalised over the weekend in what the owner described as a hate crime that left his equipment marred with racial epithets and decorated with racially charged images.
V-Kool Watersports has had its share of trials, with this latest incident capping off what has been a trying time.
The business may be familiar to residents who visit the Public Beach on the West Bay Road. With its labyrinth of flotation devices strewn along the water, the operation is hard to miss. The business offers an elaborate scheme of inflatable trampolines, slides and ladders rising out of the water.
Some of the imagery drawn on the devices by vandals included a man hanging from a noose on a tree, a tombstone reading R.I.P, as well as drawings of male genitalia, along with sexually suggestive innuendo.
“I really don’t know who would have done something like this. It’s devastating to think that people would go this far. This is not something you would expect to happen here in Cayman,” said V-Kool Watersports owner Michael Morgan.
On 10 September, 2010, the Caymanian Compass ran a story about V-Kool Watersports being vandalised. At that time the business had been in operation for just over a month.
Mr. Morgan then said he had just invested roughly $15,000 to $20,000 on starting the business, which boasts 13 different kinds of floats when one month into the venture someone appeared to have swum underneath and punctured them.
“I have had every kind of resistance one could imagine in this location. Everything from the residents in the Harbour Heights apartment complex to being told I cannot run the business by the authorities when there is no written law expressly prohibiting the use of the beach for commerce,” he said.
Mr. Morgan, who was born in Jamaica, has have lived in Cayman for a long time now, playing on the National Basket Ball Team and representing the Islands, as well as playing basketball in college on scholarship.
He said deflating the structures every evening and taking them home is not a practical option, because for maintenance purposes it is recommended that the devices are only blown up and deflated every two months.