PLATINUM recording artiste Shaggy is aiming to donate US$1,000,000 in kind to Bustamante Hospital for Children in Kingston, when he hosts the sixth staging of his Shaggy and Friends concert on the lawns of Jamaica House, later this week.
Shaggy, whose given name is Orville Burrell, told yesterday's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that he is hoping to make a significant reach in the Diaspora and the international community.
“If I could raise a million US (United States dollars) it would be great. Our biggest year was with Tessanne [Chin] and we made somewhere [around] US$800,000. This year the ticket prices are up, so hopefully we can get to the million. But whether we make $500,000 or $300,000, we're still going to do our thing as we have in the past, but it would be nice to reach that,” he told editors and reporters at the newspaper's Beechwood Avenue offices in St Andrew.
“…I think a lot of it comes down to organisation and trust. A lot of people in the Diaspora want to give, but it's not organised enough and there's not a lot of trust. You have to remember that there's the stigma that Jamaica is allegedly the scamming capital of the world. So, a lot of people are afraid to send and that's why we're not getting a big part of the Diaspora. But I'm urging them to get involved,” he added.
The event, which focuses on the health of children and health care resources with its tag line of '1 ticket = 1 life', is scheduled for January 6. Showtime is 8:00 pm.
Yesterday, the entertainer disclosed that the hospital's needs list presented over previous years to the team has already been met, but added that there will always be needs, pointing to this year's list.
“Every year we target a particular thing. For the last couple of concerts we've pretty much put our money towards the cardiac wing of the hospital. We still have the cath lab to be done. Our job at Shaggy and Friends is to furnish that lab... And then we will be able to do cardiac surgeries here in Jamaica,” Burrell said, noting that the machines for the lab are on hold, pending the completion of the lab.
A cath lab or catheterisation laboratory is an examination room in a hospital or clinic with diagnostic imaging equipment used to visualise the arteries of the heart and the chambers of the heart and treat any stenosis or abnormality found.
The Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation has so far donated 300 pieces of equipment to the hospital, but shares that there are concerns regarding the Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
“There are only five beds in the ICU for the entire Jamaica. We would love to get 15, but right now if we get 10 that would be great. The building itself, if you look at the ICU, we can't hold anything else in there. So we have to expand the building and that is where the challenge is going to be,” the performing artiste explained, adding that the hospital's inability to accommodate patients is troubling.
“Most hospitals take 50 to 60 patients per day; Bustamante [Hospital for Children is] brushing 200 on a daily basis. Parents are travelling with their sick kids from as far as Negril and from Lucea. I met a woman from Lucea and she was at the hospital with her sick child for four days without showering. There are no facilities for parents — we need to figure that out,” he added.
At the same time, Shaggy appealed for “more land” to facilitate the expansion of the Caribbean's only children's hospital of that kind.
“We're on JDF's (Jamaica Defence Force's) land and right now mi a beg the general fi piece more, because we need another ward. So all of these are things that we have to continue to focus on and fight to see if we can make things happen at our health care facility. If them can give a quarter acre or acre, we alright,” he shared.
“We can do a lot with that.”