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Wednesday 19 June 2019
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Crystal balling


TO WRITE a startlingly original newspaper column, you’ve got to copy ideas from firetrucking everybody and, in 1999, I stole one of the best from Robert Steinback, then of the Miami Herald, who, every January, wrote a column making predictions for the coming year and assessing the accuracy of his predictions the year before.

Robert’s prognostications were serious, because he lived in what we thought was a democracy until November 2016, when Russian bots and Facebook installed in the Oval Office the kind of illiterate buffoon normally found only in Third World dictatorships.

In Trinidad, where we expect our saviour of democracy to be a cross between Duterte Harry and Vladimir Put-the-boot-in, I simply couldn’t be entirely serious; like the place itself. Some of my predictions, then, are meant to make you laugh, while others would make anyone with any sense weep, the eternal Trinidadian conundrum being distinguishing fantasy from reality.

Since 2011, when I first thought of the particular form of skullduggery at its root, I have stunned readers with the accuracy of my first prediction:

* Theresa May will survive a leadership challenge over her bungling of Brexit. Correct, but only because, trusting the worthless memory of a nation that vacillates between PNM and UNC governments, I made up this prediction this morning.

* The International Cricket Council will save money and crowd disappointment abroad by paying the West Indies to stay home. Not correct. Not yet. But wait two weeks for the first Test v England.

* The TT Chief Justice, President and Prime Minister will remain, because none will insult the dignity of his office by resigning to either of the others. Two out of three right, with only my old friend President Carmona losing his gig.

* Leader of the Opposition Kamla Persad-Bissessar will be replaced by Mickela Panday. Not true. Not yet. But have patience.

* Trinis will import so many electric cars, T&TEC will explode and nobody will be able to escape because every road will be jammed with cars. Kind of SEA-correct in that the result – jammed roads – was right but the working out wasn’t.

* Not one Republican politician will challenge Trump’s trampling of taste and legality but mid-term voters will give Democrats the House and Senate. True in the only place it could be, the House, because, two centuries after emancipation, the American Constitution still gives the slave states an unfair share of federal power.

* Islamic terrorists will kill people with vehicles; American terrorists will continue shooting them. Correct, but surprising how many more American murderers there were.

* Theresa May will call a general election, which Labour will make a referendum on Brexit, and win. As depressingly incorrect as it was when I made the same prediction the year before.

* The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones will merge, gaining a viewership surpassing the Olympics, and both audiences will accept it, once Daenerys Targaryen undresses. Surprisingly incorrect, except for the frequently naked Emilia Clarke, which is probably the only really important bit of both prediction and show.

* Pastors will sexually abuse their congregations, in Jesus’ name. Not so much a prediction as a report or observation and utterly, depressingly 100 per cent correct.

And here are my predictions for 2019:

* Theresa May will call a general election, which Labour will make a referendum on Brexit, and win – third time lucky?

* West Indies will lose an entire Test match in the first hour of the first day, after following on after being unable to make half the other team’s first innings score of two, declared, with ten West Indies wickets being taken for duck, twice; West Indies players will grumble about having to wait a whole hour for lunch and Cricket West Indies will rename the team Windies Are the Champions of the World.

* Trump, astonished that he cannot prevent the damning Robert Mueller report by firing every US justice official, will call on his followers to riot to “defend the 2016 election result.”

* There will be drought riots in some parts of the world and floods in others; also applies to Trinidad.

* Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith will be voted in as our first executive president by an admiring nation.

* The new Guyanese government will collapse before it is even elected.

* I won’t be able to think of a better way of ending this column than I have for the last 19 years. How could I firetrucking know? I amaze me!

* This column will end abrupt.

BC Pires is a never-seer, come-for-seer. Read a longer version of this column and more of his writing at www.BCPires.com

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