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‘Daddy Bas’ still tilling at 94

‘Daddy Bas’ still tilling at 94

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He is not the typical 94-year-old. Roderick Bascombe is a spritely man who is known for his jovial nature as much as his generosity.{{more}}

On Sunday, October 18, 2009, when SEARCHLIGHT visited this nation builder at his Calder residence at about 6:45 a.m., he was already up and about preparing to go to his garden.

He even joked that he was being held up.

In 1999, after he had served for a period of 16 years as a Seventh Day Adventist literature evangelist, Bascombe, also known as “Daddy Bas”, retired and concentrated his efforts on farming.

He produces a wide range of crops and can be seen going to his garden from Sunday to Thursday. He uses Fridays to do his shopping and to take care of other business in Kingstown.

Bascombe is one of the largest peanut producers in Calder. He has also diversified his farm with sweet potatoes, pumpkin, water melons, and peas, which he sells to traffickers and the supermarkets.

“The constant working in the garden has kept me fit. God has kept me fit,” said Bascombe, who has neither hypertension nor diabetes.

In 2000, Bascombe suffered a great loss when his wife of 40 years, Catherine Julien-Bascombe, succumbed to cancer. Not enjoying life as a single man, by 2003, at the age 87, he married Stavie Spring-Bascombe.

Taking a walk down memory lane, Bascombe said he returned to St.Vincent and the Grenadines from Aruba on January 1, 1961 with his Grenada-born first wife whom he married just six months after meeting her. Fourteen years of his life had been spent in the Dutch Caribbean island.

Constructing a home became his first priority, and when this was completed, he decided to give his life to Christ. He became a Seventh Day Adventist.

His active involvement in the church saw him contributing much of his personal finances towards the construction of the Stubbs Seventh Day Adventist Church. Several of the church’s members were also fortunate to construct their homes through his assistance.

With a measure of reluctance, Bascombe spoke about his contribution to the church and the sale of lands at reduced prices to his brethren. He recalled that sometimes he allowed persons to pay him after they had built their homes, even when he had already granted them large discounts.

“Don’t worry with that,” Bascombe sighed.

Bascombe has been very instrumental in the development of Stubbs Seventh Day Adventist Church, serving as an elder for more than two decades.

Speaking about the earlier part of his life, Bascombe said as a teenager, he learnt the skill of masonry. He said he decided to pursue this field after dropping out of the Stubbs Primary School at Standard Five.

“When I passed from Standard Five to Six I had to drop out of school because my father was in Cuba and my mommy was in Trinidad,” said Bascombe. He said his parents did not send any allowance to his Aunt Gracy Bascombe Mars, with whom he lived, to care for him and his other siblings.

These factors, he noted, propelled him to become independent at an early age and he worked hard and saved to accumulate his own wealth.

In 1939, at the age of 24, he migrated to Trinidad and Tobago, but before doing so he worked on the construction of the Mental Hospital at Glen and buildings alongside the Canash Beach.

From his garden, he can see the earthworks taking place at Argyle for the construction of the international airport. He said in years gone by, that estate had large sugarcane fields.

When asked of his views on the proposed international airport, he said: “The airport is needed because Vincentians always get rip off in Barbados. So if we get our own airport, flights will be able to come directly here. Look at my wife’s grip there, how it was cut up in Barbados. We always get rip off there.”

He plans to vote in the November 25th Referendum, but laughed as he made it clear, “I am not involved in politics.”

Bascombe, who celebrated his 94th birthday on September 25, 2009, has been gifted with a sharp mind and takes tremendous pride in the fact that at his age he walks without a cane. Always a man to look towards the future, Bascombe is eagerly looking forward to celebrating his 100th birthday in the next six years.

Happy 30th Anniversary of Independence, Daddy Bas!

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