By Baldwin S. A. Howe



shaggy4.jpgTuesday January 13, 2009 was a happy day for the Bustamante Children’s Hospital’s many patients and members of staff.  It was the day that Reggae music superstar and philanthropist, Shaggy, kept the promise he made to the premier institution that takes care of the nations children. True to his word, Shaggy made the presentation of a whopping J$27million dollar to the institution.


Now, blessed with this gift, the Bustamante Hospital for Children can now begin some of the much needed repairs and forge ahead with acquiring some of the urgently needed equipment to effectively and efficiently administer the care that it is mandated to deliver to the nation’s children.


Shaggy’s humanitarian gesture was made possible after he galvanized the support of his many colleagues in the international music fraternity to assist him in staging the Shaggy & Friends concert which was held on the grounds of the Jamaica House, on January 3.  The event turned out to be relatively successful.  An auction sale, as well as the soliciting of pledges also augmented the event.


At the handing over ceremony, which was hosted in the old operating theatre of the Children’s hospital, members of the national press corps and other dignitaries were on hand to witness the occasion. The event turned out to be very brief, as Shaggy had to catch a plane flight in order to honour several international performance obligations.


In reacting to the receipt of the gift, Dr. Lambert Innis, the head of the Department of Anaesthesia and Intensive Care at the institution, expressed his profound gratitude.  This he did on behalf of the patients and staff of the Bustamante Hospital for Children and stated that the urgently needed assistance will go a long way in helping the institution to cope.


During his response, Dr. Innis said: “On behalf of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, we would just like to thank Shaggy and Rebecca.  It is just magic what happened.  When I saw the lawns of Jamaica House, I marveled how it was just magnificent.  And to know it was just the beginning.  Then there were the wonderful performances.  It was just magical how the artistes responded.”


“So, on behalf of the children, we are extremely grateful for the children whose life it is going to affect, they stuck to their word and we just want to give them a big thanks.  If I could give back to Shaggy and his friends it would be to ask god to bless them richly and that everything they do be successful.”


Commenting on the surroundings in the old operating theatre, one of his few working areas, Dr. Innis expressed that: “This one of the places that will be touched by Shaggy’s charity, a place where children’s life are saved.  I have great expectations and today I am a very happy man.”


Dr. Innis told the media corps that the institution’s “equipment need list” that was presented to Shaggy had many things listed thereon.  Some of the urgently needed things are equipment for Intensive Care, Operating Theatres, Nursery, Accident and Emergency plus the General Ward among other areas.  He elaborated that in Intensive Care some of the specific things needed are ventilators, incubators, infusion pumps, anaesthetic machines, and specialized suction machines among other things.


The doctor also lamented that: “Monitors are also in dire need, hundreds, all over the hospital.  It is a challenge to provide equipment like these.  That is why help like this is so appreciated.”


Before Shaggy’s departure, due to his above-mentioned appointments, he made a brief presentation during which he said: “In approaching this effort we had a marker and that was

US$2 million dollars.  We didn’t come anywhere close but we made a dent in the quota.  Therefore, we hope it will be able to do some good.”


During the presentation, he further informed that the “Shaggy & Friends” concert yielded around US$337,000, which is equivalent to J$27 million.  He made it clear that transparency was very important to him and his friends.  Shaggy then gave a breakdown of how funds were spent and later raised


Shaggy explained that it cost his team J$8 million to organize and mount the show.


In regards to income, 2000 “Silver” tickets, ($5,000); 960 “Gold” tickets, ($10,000); and 201 “Platinum tickets, ($20,000); were sold.  This Shaggy announced, “This brought ticket sales total to a little over J$23 million.”


The amount mentioned above related only to ticket sales.  “We also held an auction sale where we raised another J$1.5 million.”  Shaggy further stated.   Through these specific endeavours the total amount that accrued was J$27 million.


However, that was not all; Shaggy also gave information on the pledge aspect of his benefit-raising endeavour.  He enlightened that Irie-Jam Radio in New York was utilized as one of many pledge-mediums, and that entity, among others, is currently still processing pledges which continues to pour in.


In closing his presentation, Shaggy said:  “I would say we did very well.  What we have succeeded in doing is raising the awareness among ourselves.  Donations are still coming in and we have something to start with.  The beauty about it is that everyone who participated said they would do it again. We can make it bigger and better.  So, despite our faults, we can rise to the occasion. This show proves that we can.”  


In the latter part of the presentation the sponsors came up for special mention and the CVM Group’s

President, Dr. David McBean, expressed on behalf of his group their continued willingness to come on board this worthwhile project, saying it was easy to answer the call.   He expressed that he hoped more sponsors would join in next time.


Some of the other sponsors who participated in making the event a success by contributing cash and kind are, Digicel, Coco Cola, Sagicor, Solid Agency, Jamaica National, John Swaby, Scotia Bank, Caribbean Productions,  Wisynco, Sun Island and Creative House, all of whom were thanked by one of the shows organizers, Jacqueline Tyson.


Ms. Tyson said: “The time we had to work with was four weeks and it seemed like a tall order but we put hand and heart together and made it possible.




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