Veteran journalists salute BC Pires

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

BC Pires –

THREE veteran journalists mourned the late Basil Carlos “BC” Pires, 65, who died on Saturday by fondly recalling his biting wit.

He was a well-known newspaper columnist for decades. In Thank God Its Friday, Pires commented on a vast range of local and global issues, from the trite – such as an 18-carat gold toilet installed at the Guggenheim Museum which patrons could engage not just metaphorically but also literally/actually – to the serious such as Brexit.

His more recent offering, Trini to the Bone was a weekly series of interviews where individuals who might not otherwise be in the news spoke about how they viewed the thread of their life and how they perceived their sense of belonging to contemporary Trinidad and Tobago.

Pires allowed each interviewee to state the facts of his truth, but more so each in his own voice.

In his recent columns he chronicled his battle with cancer, from which he died.

The trio recalled how Pires had challenged society’s orthodoxies with his incisive poking and prodding.

Dominic Kalipersad, CCN former group head of news, hailed him as unconventional.

“BC Pires challenged the status quo with his irreverent style, all the while seemingly trying to challenge us to analyse ourselves in non-traditional ways so as to have a fresh perspective on how we manage our affairs.

“We all also delighted in his creative way of navigating editorial rules by creating new words, such as “firetrucking” which I’m pretty sure has permanently entered the TT lexicon. An intellectual, no doubt, with an insightful approach to life and his writings.”

Dale Enoch, radio host and One Caribbean Media head of news, sad he was very saddened at the passing of Pires with whom he had kept up communication during Pires’ decline from cancer by writing to each other on Facebook. “We’d talk every week or two.

“He’d try to make everything funny, with his wit and humour.”

Enoch said people fight and fight against cancer but the illness was scary like Hell.

“I’m very saddened by the outcome. I expected it and I think he would have expected it as well.

“I’m deeply, deeply saddened by this.” He said people will miss Pires.

“BC’s columns were so widely read, so widely enjoyed – his wit and his humour.

“It was so cleverly done, and we’re going to miss that.”

Andy Johnson, veteran columnist and broadcaster, fondly recalled working with Pires.

“He was always, I would say, excitingly provocative, as a person, not only in his writing but how he lived.

“He challenged all kinds of orthodoxies about all kinds of things.”

Johnson recalled Pires once sending him to a judiciary consultation to controversially ask whether subjecting children to religious orthodoxies breached their human rights. He recalled once visiting a prominent radio station. “I remember going in early one morning and he (Pires) and Marlan Hopkinson had an argument on the air.

“Marlan was trying to stop him from saying something or taking a position on something, and he (Pires) would have none of it. They were arguing on air.

“That’s who BC was. He was as unorthodox as any person I have every met.

“But he knew his onions and he could hold his end when it came to expressing himself the way that he wanted to.”

Johnson recalled Pires as “the personification of uniqueness.”

He added, “He was more than provocatively unique in his approach to life generally.”