Prior to rehearsals for tonight’s Shaggy and Friends concert, entertainers Wyclef Jean, Sting and the man himself, Shaggy, took some time to tour the Bustamante Hospital for Children, leaving the international recording artistes, further in awe.
Sting, having visited many hospitals worldwide exclaims, “You need more facilities here”, as he could not believe that the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) only had five beds which at the time of the visit were all occupied by patients.
“The major difference in comparing to other hospitals, is the atmosphere. It is very unfrightening here, the staff is welcoming and I feel like part of the healing process is to make the families feel at home,” he said.
The group was greeted by hospital staff including senior medical officer, Dr Michelle-Ann Richards-Dawson, executive director of the Jamaica Children Heart Centre; Fabian Brown and chief executive officer, Anthony Wood.
The tour included not only the ICU, for which this year’s concert is aiming to raise US$1M, but the cardiac centre which Shaggy has been supporting over the years.
“The Bustamante Hospital is dear to me, being I have been doing this for quite a long time, so the more people we get involved, the better. The biggest thing is to raise awareness, as many persons did not know the ICU had only four or five beds,” Shaggy said.
Wycef Jean told The Gleaner, “The main thing we have to understand economical freedom is really important, but we have turned into international beggars by raising the cause for the entire Caribbean. What I would like to see is the true awakening that is when the Diaspora awakes.”
The Haitian rapper and musician, spoke about the value of remittances, as he says, “If my cousin can ask to transfer US$50 to buy a pair of shoes, I expect the same amount of energy for Shaggy and Friends, to be able to ask for at least US$20 and share that it is contributing to the cause”, because three dollars out of currency being sent from the Diaspora to the Caribbean can do a whole lot.
Chief executive officer at the hospital, Anthony Wood, told The Gleaner, “over the six years at the hospital, we have seen the growth with the help of Shaggy and Friends foundation, but even more to work with them for the cause is significant. But for us, it is not about what we get but what we can give to the children and families who come here.”
Bringing international acts to the cause, including international press is visibly helping with the mission.
“The concert is great, but after the concert is where the real work starts so people can get engaged after the event has passed,” Wyclef said.