“Mi never touch the money, we never move wid di money, we never carry it nowhere. The money has been there the whole time”. Those were the words of international superstar Shaggy, as he sought to clear the air regarding the J$100 million raised by the Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation.
The money was raised to purchase five additional beds for the Bustamante Children’s Hospital Intensive Care Unit (ICU), and despite handing over a symbolic cheque for the funds, the hospital stated that two years later, they are yet to see a dime.
In a press briefing held yesterday, Shaggy reassured persons that the money was not misappropriated but would instead be going towards expanding the ICU and the purchase of 150 beds.
To accomplish this, in addition to the $100 million already pledged, Shaggy has also pledged his salary from ABC/Disney’s The Little Mermaid Live special, which aired recently. There will also be an additional $150 million, pledged by WIHCON.
“The hospital continues to collaborate with partners including the Shaggy Make A Difference Foundation, WIHCON, and the National Health Fund. I think we have enough money now with [Shaggy’s money] coming in – that we can probably accomplish a three-storey ward that can have the capacity of about 150 additional beds,” Kenny Benjamin, chairman of the Bustamante Children’s Hospital said during the briefing.
Though Shaggy didn’t reveal the salary figure, he was transparent about funds still held at Scotiabank by way of a bank statement. A total of $112,205,019.06 sits in an account in the name Shaggy And Friends which has been in operation since January 2014.
“The money has been there the whole time. It’s earmarked for an ICU. If we earmark something for ICU, we cyaa just tek it and just buy them sumn. We will be turning it over to the Bustamante Hospital for Children to do this new project with Dr Kenny Benjamin, ” Shaggy said.
Shaggy further explained that the money was held considering the magnitude of the hospital’s needs, with the idea to plan another concert, or to use the money to support other fundraising events to achieve the initial goal to expand the ICU.
“I have no problem turning over the full amount. But what we normally do, because of concerts – we always keep a little stipend to help us to go for the next concert down the line,” he said.
The next concert, due for 2020, has been postponed until further notice as the foundation was unable secure a venue for the concert.
Moved by the magnitude of the Buju Banton Long Walk To Freedom show at the National Stadium, Shaggy stated that he has been toying with the idea of producing a Jamaicans for Jamaica event – a stadium concert featuring all Jamaican acts.
“That was the plan I had,” he said, assuring that the foundation is going back to the drawing board to see how best to move forward in the future.