Bascome treatment centre officially opened
In an emotional address before a packed audience, Nelson Bascome III expressed “great gratitude for the tremendous dedication” of naming a new treatment centre after his late father.
Family members unveiled the sign to officially declare the Nelson Bascome Substance Abuse Treatment Centre open before a packed audience yesterday.
Mr Bascome said: “This speaks volumes for what my father has done. I must say that over the years the amount of time he dedicated to substance abuse and the countless calls.
“As far as I’m concerned I remember many years ago as a young boy when he first started at Reach Out, I spent a lot of time there. That’s where I learned that he was truly engulfed in his profession; he loved it.
“He brought it home with him, he walked it day to day and I can truly say that this shows that hard work does pay off.”
His mother, Shirlene Bascome said: “It was a humbling experience but it speaks accolades to what Nelson has done with his life.
“He always dealt with substance abuse and always wanted to help people. I remember when we first got married that was one of the things that we talked about. He returned home primarily to work on making things better for the people of his country and that’s what he was able to do.
“If he was here today I know he would be very proud of this establishment. I am very proud because I know the work and the time that he dedicated to this.
“He dedicated his life to working with people and helping people to feel worthy because there is so much out there that takes that away.”
Mr Bascome’s mother also attended the ceremony with her daughter, Sissy Bascome who resides in Cuba. Well-known as a singer, Ms Bascome said: “I really appreciate what the Bermuda Government has done for Nelson.
“I’m really proud of my brother, even in death. On July 14 it will be four years since he’s been gone.”
Public Safety Minister Michael Dunkley said: “This is an important day, not only to recognise the service of Nelson Bascome, but it is also an important day in the substance abuse treatment story in Bermuda.
“This facility will serve the needs of the affected community and is well equipped to transform the lives of those who have fallen into the cycle of substance abuse.
“The increase in bed capacity and the consolidation of drug treatment into a purpose built facility is designed to deliver treatment in a more efficient and cost-effect way,” said Mr Dunkely.
“Personally, I considered Nelson a friend and colleague who never let politics stand in the way of a tee time,” he added.
Premier Craig Cannonier said: “I can’t think of anyone better to tribute this building to than Nelson Bascome. I’m just humbled by the fact that we have honoured someone who dedicated his life to this cause.
“Just to see one of the directors here in tears because Nelson was his mentor says a whole lot about the character of the Nelson Bascome family and Nelson himself.
“I was elated when the Minister of Public Safety came to me and said we need to name this building. When he suggested that it should be named after Nelson Bascome, you couldn’t find a better man to name this building after. So we were in full support of this and what it represents, it really represents a better Bermuda.”
Also on hand for the official opening was Magistrate Juan Wolfe who heads up Bermuda’s Drug Court who said: “It’s been a long time coming.
“It’s extremely gratifying to have a purpose built facility where clients can come here and be in a lock down facility where they can receive all of the services and treatment that they need to get on to the road to recovery. To be able to have it all in one place in a one-stop shop is something which can be extremely beneficial to the our population struggling with drug abuse.”
He stressed the need for a 24/7 drug treatment facility and was particularly pleased that residents can stay in the programme for up to one year.
“The problem we have with recovery is that people who normally go through counselling or some sort of treatment is - then what?
“It’s a very difficult transition from treatment to every day living with life skills. This facility will hopefully provide that sort of transition where persons not only receive drug treatment but also get required life skills training so that when they do actually come back into society they will be able to live their life as a law-abiding citizen and a person that we can all be proud of.”
Mr Wolfe concluded: “We’ve been asking for such a facility for a very long time and there have been reasons why it has not come on line. And who is a better person than to have it named after than Nelson Bascome?
“I think he would be extremely proud because he lived his life trying to beat drug addiction in terms of providing people with treatment. I think he would be smiling from cheek to cheek today.”