Letter: Shame on Duncan council for getting rid of Town Crier

He is a wonderful man, who took his job VERY seriously

Shame on Duncan council for getting rid of Town Crier

So, the City of Duncan is getting rid of the Town Crier in favour of “A City Ambassador.” What else is a Town Crier but a city ambassador? Ben Buss did a brilliant job over the past 10 years. Was there any discussion? Was there any public debate? Was the public even asked? I am all for decolonization, but what is offensive about a Town Crier? They traditionally wear a military uniform. This is what happens when you elect a bunch of people with NO understanding of tradition and no respect for basic respect. Council never even spoke to him about this before making the decision.

The city paid for his original uniform over 10 years ago, when Robert Alexander, the first Town Crier retired. It cost approximately $1,000. Ben would appear at every city event, and travel to many events all over the island and even internationally, to praise Duncan and encourage people to come and visit us. It cost the city $600 a year afterwards to pay for his gasoline and to pay to have his uniform dry cleaned. He is a wonderful man, who took his job VERY seriously. He learned to play the bugle and added a Métis sash because of historical links between the regiment whose uniform he wore and the Métis people.

He competed in competitions in Kingston, in New Zealand and on Anacortes. He was considered 10th in the world, competing against the world’s best. His cry about Duncan and the totems came fourth in New Zealand. He has spent $10,000 of his own money to travel, upgrade his uniform (e.g. square toed leather boots) and to undergo training.

What does Mayor Staples’s statement, “Their regalia and cries will live on in many for years to come,” even mean? It means absolutely nothing. Why could they simply not have waited until Ben wished to retire? Shame on you Duncan city council. Shame on you.

Sharon Jackson