The Bahamian ICCE Graduation

Monday, April 25, 2016 will forever be etched in Bahamian history. It was a beautiful day in the small Caribbean country called The Bahamas. The breeze blew gently through the trees, the sun shone warmly, while the birds echoed their singing. For some people the day seemed like a regular day, but not to the twenty Bahamians whose lives will be changed forever. It was graduation day!

The journey commenced 15 months earlier when 22 strangers from eight different organizations/cultures/environments emerged and constituted what has now become “The Bahamian ICCE Family”. Never in a million years did any of us envision this instant. Excitement filled the air. Broad smiles, warm hugs, nervous chatter, and flashing cameras fueled our energy while we anxiously awaited our moment in time. The cue was given. We are ready!

Smartly attired, heads held high, we marched quietly in a single file into the beautifully decorated Heritage Hall, located at the Paul H. Farquharson Conference Centre, Police Head Quarters. Walking tall in the sight of God; government officials; international dignitaries, guests, and trainers; organizational heads, supervisors, and colleagues; family and friends; and, of course, the media, we proceeded toward our assigned seating. We did not have to utter a single word. Our presence said it all. Never haughty, ever humble, we sat and listened, patiently waiting the climax of the ceremony—receiving our credentials, titling us International Certified Addiction Professionals I (ICAP I).

History was made yet again in The Bahamas. We are the first Bahamians to complete the train-the-trainer training in the comprehensive Universal Treatment Curriculum (UTC) for Substance Use Disorders provided by The Colombo Plan’s International Centre for the Certification and Education of Addiction Professionals (ICCE). The Bahamas is the first country in the Western Hemisphere to complete this training. In addition, our group was said to have achieved the best pass rate worldwide (91%) in the history of Colombo Plan training of substance use treatment professionals, according to Colombo Plan Director, Mr. Tay Bian. Yes, we have indeed made history!

While the graduation ceremony may signify the close of one chapter in our lives, by no means is it over for us. In fact, we have only just begun!


Shaniqua Smith,

International Certified Addiction Professional I (ICAP I).