Osoyoos RCMP commander Sgt. Jason Bayda with Pastor Phil Johnson of the Osoyoos Baptist Church.

Osoyoos RCMP thank Baptist church

Editor’s note: Osoyoos RCMP Sgt. Jason Bayda sent the following open letter to the Osoyoos Baptist Church this week. A carbon copy was sent to the media.

On Wednesday morning I had a great visit with Pastor Phil of the Osoyoos Baptist Church. It was a visit like no other and certainly an uplifting one. Before I get into that, please let me touch on how some of the recent media coverage has affected us.

With all of the negativity portrayed in the media towards police these days, what used to be a highly rewarding profession, for some has become difficult. Police officers are human, we make mistakes. We recognize we are not perfect even when we strive for perfection.

We work for you, the public, and we do our very best to keep you safe. We do this always, even during COVID-19. We do this because we care. We care about our communities. We care about you. All of you. Lately though, we have all been painted with the same brush and criticized for the actions of a very small few. This can have a demoralizing effect. Yes, even on us, the police.

Remember what I said earlier? We are human too. But it doesn’t only affect us, it also affects our loved ones. Our spouses and children see us out the door before every shift knowing there is a reality that we may not come home. When they hear or read negative comments about the police, it hurts them too. And that’s not fair to them. Yet they stand beside us because they know who we really are. They know we are not what the media is trying to portray us to be. We are not villains.

We respond to calls during the pandemic, most often without the ability to remain six feet from some of those we are assisting. We don’t know if we are leaving a scene infected and taking it back to the detachment, putting our coworkers at risk or taking it home and putting our families at risk. We are the ones that attend scenes and have to see things no one should ever have to witness. We are often the first to tell a parent their child has tragically passed. We deal with people who would much rather see us not return home to our families. It’s a stressful job yet through it all we will not stop serving and protecting.

That is what we signed up to do and we will not leave you without help regardless of the negative press aimed at us.

Now to get back to my visit with Pastor Phil. Pastor Phil attended to the Osoyoos RCMP detachment to deliver a card that on the front read, "Osoyoos RCMP Detachment, We Appreciate You!"

Pastor Phil told me that they recognize through all of this, the police deal with the most vulnerable people in our society and without the police he didn’t know how society would manage. I opened the card and it was full of thank-yous from numerous people of our community. I can’t begin to tell you how uplifting it was to read all of those comments. It reenergized me as I know it will also do for my officers and office staff.

It reminded me that although there is a wave of negativity toward police in the world today, the support much outweighs the negativity.

I will leave you with a belief I have held onto throughout my almost 20-year career in policing. This isn’t something new but maybe it needs to be said. It is the job of police to serve and protect; not to judge.

If you have been arrested because you are alleged to have committed a crime, please know we do not judge you. And later, when you are in need, we will be there to assist you. Because just like us, you are only human too.

I want to thank Pastor Phil and the Osoyoos Baptist Church for all the kind words and support. In times like these when we hear mostly negative comments, please know you have truly lifted our spirits at the Osoyoos RCMP detachment!

We feel blessed to work and live in Osoyoos.

Jason Bayda


Keep the madness going, vote Kanye

Dear Editor:

Kanye West, you go my man!

Let’s continue the deranged madness.

Paul Crossley


Fan of letter writer John Thompson

Dear Editor:

John Thompson’s well-thought-out letters to the editor make reading the Herald, the best investment of my time and money.

His rational and accurate assessment of our government and its policies are both refreshing and informative.

Bravo John!

Jean Coffin


Shatford Centre is a community hub

Dear Editor:

As one of the many community groups who used the Shatford Centre for events and meetings, we were saddened to hear of the closing of its doors and the eviction of the Okanagan School of the Arts.

Although School District 67 has given the OSA extra time to move out and become

re-established, it still has not addressed what will become of the Shatford building.

As this was a well-used facility for so many local groups, it’s very disappointing to now have it unavailable. It was a hub of activity anytime we entered for a meeting or event and was a wonderful space to host fundraising dinners and have access to its state-of-the-art kitchen.

Like many others, we loyally participated in the growth of the Shatford. Individuals bought memberships to support the centre while local organizations, businesses and volunteers contributed time and energy to its life.

The Rotary Club alone contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the high-calibre commercial and teaching kitchen, and the federal, provincial, and municipal governments invested in the overall development of the building.

As we consider the many groups — yoga, musical, dramatic, artistic, charitable, educational — who met at the Shatford, we have to wonder what was the downside to all of this? Why must the community bid farewell to this useful, multi-purpose building?

After making such a drastic move as shutting the building right down, there must have been consideration, apart from financial, and a stellar plan for moving forward.

Our worry is that the plan is to let it sit empty then claim it is too far gone to be left standing so it will have to be torn down and replaced by a parking lot or portable.

How can interested stakeholders come together to try to bring this building back to life?

Is there momentum in our community to save the Shatford?

Grandmothers for Africa

South Okanagan

Most young people don’t want to work

Dear Editor:

I now have a project on hold because I can’t find a couple of young lads (or lasses) to work at a start-up rate of $15 an hour. I need to re-roof an old house with sheet metal.

One of the requirements is that you can’t be afraid of heights, although the roofer will have a harness to protect him or herself from falling. The roof slope is not dangerous, but some people get a little weak in the knees when they are more than ten feet above ground.

At $15 an hour, and assuming a five-hour day, a young person can make $500 a week, and if it takes a month they would have earned at a not-too- difficult job, $2000.

No experience is necessary as you would learn on the job under my supervision.

Here’s the first problem. A professional roofer has quoted me $12,000 for labour alone. They would have the job done in a week, and with two of them working they are each making $6,000 for a week’s work. Not bad for manual labour.

The second problem is that I can’t find young people willing to work. Someone told me, “Well, this is the Okanagan, you can’t find anyone who would work when they can lay on the beach all day, supported by their parents.”

Things have changed over the years. My kids all had summer jobs.

My grandkids all have summer jobs.

The idea of working for a living was instilled in my life and my wife’s life from the time we were little, and we passed this ethic on to our children. Nobody in our families has ever collected unemployment insurance.

The unemployment rate in Canada is now 13.7%. Those unemployed are likely living on government subsidies.

And I can’t find someone to work for $15 an hour.

Frank Martens


See our homeless as people

Dear Editor:

My wife and I moved here on July 1 from Burnaby. To be honest, I am a bit disheartened by people’s attitudes, as least as indicated by letters to the editor and conversations I have overheard.

I guess I am a bit biased as I spent over 15 years ministering to the homeless, addicts, immigrants and other marginalized people on Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside (I hate the term “Skid Row”).

One of the first things I had to do was learn to look at them as people — each with their own story. They are someone’s son or daughter, brother or sister, mom or dad.

I remember a regular client at our drop-in. Everyone called him “Doc.” I asked him one day how he got the nickname. Down there everyone seemed to have one. Turns out he was a heart surgeon.

One day someone died on him on the operating table and he never got over it. He turned to drinking and lost everything.

Another short story I can share with you is about our “Angel.” You will see why I call him an Angel in a minute. One evening. this man I had never seen before came to our drop-in. You have to understand the DTES was like a small town where you got to know everyone. We had the old upright piano there for our chapel services.

He asked if it was OK to play. I said sure, even though I was expecting an hour of chopsticks. Well, for the next hour we were treated to the most wonderful classical music, and for that hour, it was calm and peaceful in the drop-in. He then said thanks and left. I never saw him again.

The bible teaches us to welcome strangers because by doing so, we might entertain angels. Well, that day I think we did.

I understand the problems these folks can cause, but try to understand their circumstance. I know I am new here but I bet like everywhere else, I bet there are few if any resources. I am sorry that bikes are stolen so often or that shoplifting is such a problem. These people are desperate for food, shelter and yes — their drug of choice.

Try to see them as people with a problem. Maybe you can refer someone to an agency that can help like the Salvation Army or others. Be more careful with what we leave out so we can reduce the temptation.

I think that this is new for Penticton in the last few years and has taken people by surprise. People may have to change some things to reduce temptation. We have all had to adjust to a lot lately and we have all been hit hard by the virus.

I just ask for people to show a bit more compassion.

Thanks and God bless.

Pastor Neale Bacon


Trump: the man who would be president

Dear Editor:

Donald John Trump was the fourth of five children. He was born June 14, 1946 in Queens, New York. The family lived in Jamaica Estates, an upscale community reflecting his father Fred’s successful company which developed properties for middle-class families in Queens, Staten Island and Brooklyn.

The three Trump sons Fred Jr., Donald and Robert worked some summers and some weekends on construction sites or in offices when they were old enough. The girls in the family, Maryanne and Elizabeth were not part of the business because mother Elizabeth kept reiterating that the business was a man’s world. There was one other older brother, Fred Jr., an airline pilot whose death was attributed to alcoholism.

At the age of 13, Donald was sent to a military school because he was misbehaving at school. Although he attended military school, he never served in any branch of the military. He received four draft deferments for college and one for “supposed bone spurs.” Several well-respected armed forces veterans referred to him as “Cadet Bone Spurs” and such.

Trump attended Wharton College where he got a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. He did not graduate with honors. He stated that he was “first in his class,” which later was proven to be a lie. To have been anywhere near the top he would have had to have a 3.5 GPA or better. The truth of the matter is that in 1968 the top 20 Wharton graduates were published and Trump’s name was not on the list. Trump himself, had an official letter sent to Wharton forbidding them to reveal his GPA or SAT score to anyone.

To say that Trump is not colourful is an understatement. He is a master of story telling and the stories are most often far from the truth. He prides himself on being himself. His egocentricity goes hand in hand with lying about, even refuting, candid statements made on TV.

With current pandemic, he appears to be like “the proverbial ostrich with it’s head in the sand.” He downplays it and blatantly says that shortly the virus will disappear because a vaccine will be found before the end of the year. Don’t know what crystal ball he’s looking at and I don’t recall any ouija board readings.

This mysoginistic, racist president currently has 17 lawsuits pending; has been bankrupt a number of times and yet gets elected. Go figure. Stay tuned for his sister’s tell all book.

Nov. 3 will be a banner day for the U.S.

Ron Barillaro