Nelson Bascome

I got a text early this morning that Mr. Bascome had passed while visiting the USA. I didn’t know what to make of it, but I’ve since had several confirmations of this tragedy. It’s left me rather speechless at the moment. It’s just so out of the blue.

I wasn’t all that close to Mr. Bascome, but he was a real smart and genuine guy that had a lot to offer to Bermuda. It’s just so shocking that he passed so suddenly, so young like.

I’m speechless here.

My condolences to his loved ones.

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11 thoughts on “Nelson Bascome

  1. Nelson was my MP and the couple of times I met him, seemed like a really good guy. My condolences to his family.

  2. Bascom = a politician who personifies grass roots, community and public service…too bad we dont have more politicians like him in public service…the country would be a lot further ahead

    His service in the social areas = a great foundation that gave him uniqe insight into helping the people and he would have been a great premier and would have put the plp back onto the correct path as far as adressing the social ills, and fulfilling a real social adjenda

    gone….. but as long as his works are continued…not forgotten…too bad theres no politicians in the plp or ubp that can reproduce his efforts!

  3. Sadly I was at the viewing last night, and hung around outside for a while, and if i counted 4 white Bermudians coming to pay respects that was all. This shows the racial split in bermuda.

    Did they not come because they dont respect the 20 years of Parliamentary service that Nelson bascome dedicated to Bermuda?

    Did they not come because it was at Alaska Hall and they refuse to enter PLP HQ?

    Did they not come because of the location (Court St) and they feel uncomfortable there?

    Did they not come simply because they don’t like viewings?

    Even from the Opposition, the only members I saw were Patricia Gordon Pamplin and Gina Spence Farmer, both members whose family roots are within the PLP. I am sure the rest of Parliament will be in full attendance today, but it just makes me wonder that’s all.

    It was the same for Dame Lois as well…

    I can’t speak to Eugene Cox though.

    I just wonder why we all can’t honor the service to one’s country in a similar fashion.

  4. Hi Ken, those are all good questions.

    I will try and give my own perspective as a White Bermudian on those questions.

    For one thing, I think there seems to be a very different cultural approach to deaths between Whites and Blacks – same with the different approaches to worship in the Churches. I’ve only been to three funerals in Bermuda, two White Bermudians and then Lois Browne-Evans’ one. Viewings really aren’t done to be frank. It’s just a memorial service at the Church, then a few words at the graveside, and then off to the Wake. The Wake seems to be the most important aspect amongst the Whites, and the death is very much seen as a private affair for the immediate family. Those outside of the immediate family try not to get involved, paying their respects from afar. In my observation Black Bermudians have a different approach to deaths, with viewings and public outpouring of grief being more central than the intimacy of a Wake gathering. Of course, these are generalisations and there are always exceptions to the rule. But the above seem to be the case. I would imagine that many White Bermudians, who would offer their respect will do it from afar, be it comments online or letters of support in various media. But coming out in a physical and public act, that would be unusual.

    As for the location, I am also sure that is a factor. I remember when I joined the Party in the immediate aftermath of 1998. Entering Alaska Hall was very much like breaking a taboo, and I did it by taking a deep breath. Not many White Bermudians would even know where Alaska Hall is, or visit it, largely because of psychological reasons I guess, but also because they are not part of the PLP and do not think it right to enter the Party’s HQ as such.

    Similarly Court Street can be quite intimidating for Whites I think. Many will go there for Chewstick, or occassionaly pop in to a store there (Caribbean Market or for Jamaican food), but they will do so infrequently and very much ‘in and out’ as quick as possible. I personally don’t like walking there and made my way to Alaska Hall for meetings on foot through a roundabout way, usually through Princess Street or down Cedar Avenue and then over, sometimes even going down by House of India and up the hill there. Very very rarely would I walk straight down Court Street. Perhaps most of that is purely pyschological. I do feel as if everyone on the street is watching me as I go down Court Street, and occassionally get accosted as I walk there. Actually, its only on election nights for celebrations that I don’t feel intimidated at all, its a very different feel.

    So I think it is definitely a combination of the factors you mention, a different approach to death and funerals, but also the location being a big factor.

    For the funeral of Lois Browne-Evans, I didn’t attend the viewing at Alaska Hall cause that’s really not my thing. I did attend the service at the Cathedral, as much as I detested the pomp of it with the Union Jack over the coffin and the like (I had a long-standing disagreement with her accepting the Dameship and refuse – as she was aware – to recognise such colonialist titles). And the service was quite long, and religious – being atheist I was respectful but uncomfortable – and I was wary of her death being politically exploited. I was much more comfortable with the parade to the grave.

    I am not sure if my writing is helpful to you, but it is the best I can come up with. Bear in mind I was a member of the Party, regularly atteneded various meetings, and remain a supporter (though critical!), and yet I would not attend a viewing and feel uncomfortable walking through Court Street to get to Alaska Hall. Make of it what you will I guess.

    Certainly good questions that should be discussed.

  5. With regards to your answers to Ken’s poignant & indicting questions, basically what you’re saying is that it is OK in 2009 for you as a white Bermudian to ‘feel uncomfortable & threatened’ when moving in areas that are traditionally considered black areas of Bermuda. If this is the case answer these questions –

    (1) Would it be considered just as acceptable for blacks to feel equally uncomfortable in areas deemed as “white” such as, Front Street, Tuckers Town, Fairylands, Grape Bay Paget, etc. AND should we black people use that feeling of uncomfortableness as a legitimate excuse to keep us away from working in white stores, bars, restaurants, hotels, etc.?

    (2) Since you infer that your ‘white discomfort’ is a legitimate & acceptable excuse for you not to attend the funeral of a major political figure of the Bda Govt at Alaska Hall, then I imagine that you would find it equally OK if I allowed my ‘black discomfort’ to prevent me from going to work in white settings like exempt companies/law firms/banks/etc. down front street?

    Mr Starling Bermuda’s business machinery would shut down if blacks allowed our ‘discomfort’ to keep us out of the white settings which I mentioned.

    The sad thing is that you fail to recognize that your capacity to even choose whether or not you want to enter a racially ‘uncomfortable’ setting is a capacity granted to you (& all whites) by white privilege. Blacks have rarely ever had this capacity to choose the racial comfort of many of the settings that they find themselves in.

    So as revel in your white privilege not to go into a ‘black area’ like Court Street (because it makes you feel so uncomfortable) remember the thousands of Black Bermudians like me who can’t choose to avoid places (like their office) where they are the racial minority.

    Just like I have to ‘suck it up’ and go where I am looked at with weird white stares, you (& other white people who feel like you do) might learn to do the same thing – ‘suck it up’ & come have a drink with me down at Spinning Wheel – if you dare.

  6. Evening.

    I am not sure if you clearly read my comments. I personally do not like to attend viewings (as stated) and would not go on that account, although I would attend a memorial. That’s just me. My writings about the ‘discomfort’ were more my answering as to why others who may attend viewings may decide not to attend that location.

    I recognise what you are saying (re Black discomfort in White Bermuda), and I think you have a legitimate point there, and I am not arguing against it. You are also right that part of the White privilege is that I have the choice, a choice that may not be available to others. No contest there.

    Next time I am in Bermuda perhaps we can have a drink then – if you dare, LOL!

  7. Didn’t we have this conversation before? And most of the things ken brings up here… weren’t they addressed?

    I’m a little offended by ken’s allegation that the lack of white faces indicates “the racial split”.

    Many reasons for a lack of white faces were talked about (and apparently ignored) in the other thread.

    One of which was that perhaps not as many white folks knew Mr. Bascome well enough to feel comfortable coming to his funeral.

    I didn’t know him at all. How does my non-attendence indicate any racial split? Should I have gone, simply because he was an MP in a Government that I don’t support?
    Are citizens now expected to show up at funerals of Ministers?

    I’m sorry, but this reeks of just another excuse to point the finger and say “White people suck and hate black people” and that is just not cool.

  8. Hi UE, yes, this discussion did evolve into another thread. Ken did post there that he was not intending to say that White non-attendance was an affront but that he was merely curious why there may be racial differences in Bermuda regarding death rituals and the like.

  9. If that’s the way you want to read it, Jonny…

    Looking at the whole post, there seems to be a “Shame on you, white Bermuda” aspect to it. It seems that none of what was talked about was taken into consideration or even listened to.

    Maybe it’s just my genetic predisposition at work…

  10. “maybe it’s just my genetic predispostion at work”….

    Finally someone has admitted that things took place that they are sorry for.

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