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SATURDAY’S CHILD: Storm in a peecup


SATURDAY’S CHILD: Storm in a peecup

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WHEN WE REFER to people as being part of, or even constituting, the “elect” it generally means that they have been chosen or singled out. However, not every election candidate can be considered part of the “elect”, especially one of the candidates representing the ruling Conservative Party in Canada’s October 19, 2015 national elections, Mr Jerry Bance, who runs an appliance-repair company.

According to the story on the CBS News, “A Toronto businessman who had been running for Parliament with Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s party made the wrong kind of splash and is out of the race after being caught on video urinating in a coffee cup. The tinkling tale of Jerry Bance, who had been filmed while working as an appliance repairman, caps a bad week for Harper.”

The Huffington Post explained how this came about, not the recession but the urinary track on the tape. It revealed that footage from a 2012 episode of the consumer show Marketplace, of the Canadian Broadcasting Company (CBC), resurfaced on Reddit showing Bance discreetly relieving himself into a homeowner’s cup while hidden cameras were recording. At the time, the former Toronto-area candidate worked as an appliance repairman and was called in to fix a broken dishwasher as part of a sting operation to catch and confront repairmen overcharging homeowners for simple repairs to home appliances. Hidden cameras captured the incident, which occurred while Marketplace’s producer, posing as a homeowner, was in the next room. “He just peed in the cup,” said shocked Marketplace host Tom Harrington, watching the scene through multiple monitors set up in another room. After finishing his business, Bance was shown pouring his urine into the sink. He also rinsed the cup.

The original Marketplace episode had referred to Bance only as “Jerry”. A tip received by CBC News pointed out “Jerry” was Bance. The “peegate” scandal then erupted and even though Bance sent an explanation and apology to the Post, it was too late. Claiming it was a “lapse in judgement”, Bance said that he deeply regretted what he did. He wrote, “A 30-second decision made three years ago can really change one’s life. I had a health situation and needed to make an emergency decision, ironically to save myself from embarrassment back then. I have always been a hard-working person who loves this country and it saddens me that in spite of all my effort to serve this riding, all that is left is this negative impression.”

Thomas Mulcair, the leader of one of the contesting parties, the New Democrats, quipped, “I guess that this was one mug shot that Canadians weren’t expecting from Conservatives. He must be someone who’s adept at Stephen Harper’s trickle-down theory of economics.”  

As if this wasn’t enough, the CBC commented “After three weeks of campaigning, several candidates are no longer running after comments they made over social media have come back to haunt them. Others have switched allegiances after embarrassing their party, while others still have the confidence of their party despite a faux pas.”

In this week’s Trinidad elections, the governing People’s Partnership, now the Opposition, announced a candidate for one of the constituencies and within less than two days withdrew that person and introduced another one while at the same time rejecting the incumbent, government minister Winston Peters. As a calypsonian known as Gypsy, Peters was famous for his early songs like The For Cane Man (Is Here Again) and She Went For Cane, as well as his catalytic role in the defeat of the George Chambers government in 1986 with his composition telling Prime Minister Chambers, “Captain, the ship is sinking . . . .”  Immediately after he was dropped from the team, Gypsy accused then prime minister, now Leader of the Opposition, Kamla Persad-Bissessar, of being ungrateful (using the Hindi term “neemakharam”). He then appeared at meetings of the now governing party, the People’s National Movement. It is said that Mrs Persad-Bissessar in any reference to Gypsy repeatedly used the title of the first mentioned song but that cannot be verified.

What is known is that Gypsy sang at meetings of Jack Warner’s Independent Liberal Party (ILP), which did not unduly trouble the scorers or enumerators, all of its candidates losing their deposits. While the actions of Mr Bance would be considered a storm in a teacup compared to Mr Warner’s, the redoubtable Jack, a former minister in the Persad-Bissessar cabinet, claimed victory for her loss, boasting, “I made Kamla in 2010 and I broke her in 2015.” One of his critics commented that if Jack, who is facing an extradition order from the United States government, is convicted and his funds seized, he too will be broke in 2015.

• The latest Jack Warner story is that when as a FIFA big shot he went to the South Korean capital he highly praised the people for loving their city so much that in his presence they said repeatedly, “Ah Seoul!”