At the prodding of international recording artiste, Orville ‘Shaggy’ Burrell, the Bustamante Hospital for Children will be launching a foundation early next year to facilitate the lodging of the $100 million that was raised by the artiste in 2018.
Kenny Benjamin, the hospital’s chairman, said that the foundation will also enable it to raise future funding to go towards the expansion of the paediatric facility, which is the only one of its kind in the English-speaking Caribbean.
“Shaggy said he preferred that we had our own foundation and that his foundation would donate the money to our foundation, which is a sensible thing to do,” Benjamin told The Sunday Gleaner last week.
It was revealed during a Sunday Gleaner exposé in November that the hospital was yet to benefit from the January 6, 2018 Shaggy and Friends biennial charity concert. Shaggy’s wife and co-director of the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation, Rebecca Burrell, explained then that it was the foundation’s policy to hand over equipment instead of money to the hospital, although a symbolic cheque for $100 million was given to the hospital in February 2018.
Following the publication, Shaggy held a press conference on November 11 where he sought to assure the public that the funds were in a Scotiabank account which was started by his foundation in 2014. He said that although the money was earmarked to purchase beds for the intensive care unit at the hospital, it would be handed over to the hospital to go towards the building of a three-storey ward to treat sick children.
“The cheque is ready, but what they want to do, and rightfully so, I agree with them, they don’t want to lodge it into a government account per se. So it has to be like a foundation, where members from the board and members from the management committee will be joint signatories and then Bustamante can decide how they want to spend it,” Benjamin said.
“Anybody making a donation will, from here on, make it to the foundation rather than to SERHA,” he said.
The South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA) is a statutory body in the Ministry of Health and Wellness and is responsible for the delivery of healthcare services in Kingston and St Andrew, St Catherine, and St Thomas.
Benjamin said that it would be better to have a foundation going forward as persons, over the years, have expressed an interest in giving directly to the hospital.
“A lot of people donate in kind rather than cash, but we are going on a big begging drive as well to see how we can raise more funds, because we are going to be building a $200-million unit which is going to add another 150 beds to the hospital, which is what the hospital needs very badly,” Benjamin said.