by Howard Campbell
KINGSTON, Jamaica -Dancehall star Shaggy admits that uncertainty over funds from his 2018 Shaggy and Friends show in Jamaica, has hurt his reputation. He made the disclosure during an interview with the Jamaica Observer newspaper.
The story was published in the daily publication’s December 14 edition. Shaggy held a press conference here two days earlier to clear the air on a contentious matter.
“In my heart of hearts I would love to (stage the concert again) because you have to put the children first and we saw the good that it did. However, when you start to get attacked on your character, remember it says ‘Shaggy and Friends’. There are also a lot of people who make up the ‘Friends’ that are behind the scenes… these are people that gave their time, that had attached their businesses to this brand, it was also an attack on their character at the same time because they were involved with us,” said the double Grammy winner.
The 2018 version of Shaggy and Friends reportedly made J$100 million (just over US$652,000). But administrators at the Bustamante Hospital For Children, beneficiaries of the event, say they have not received the proceeds despite several requests to the Shaggy And Friends Foundation.
The veteran artist, best known for songs like It Wasn’t Me, Angel and Boombastic, visited the government-run hospital on December 12. He disclosed that most of the funds from the concert were projected to build an Intensive Care Unit there, but he was not prepared to hand over the money to the Jamaican government.
“But our model has never been to turn money over to government. That was never our model. I don’t know where they got that from. If you look at previous things that we have done; we purchased equipment and refurbished equipment ourselves. We also maintain them ourselves. We’re the ones who fly technicians down and we don’t just do our equipment, we do the whole hospital,” he declared.
The Southeast Regional Health Authority, which oversees the Bustamante Children’s Hospital, denied making requests for money to be given to the Jamaican government.
“The concern of the Regional Health Authority was always, that having raised these funds in the name of the Bustamante Hospital for Children, with the full support and endorsement of the institution, and the hundreds of volunteers and patrons who supported the initiative, that funds be used to support improvement in services to patients who use the hospital. The Regional Authority makes no judgement on the reasons for the long delay, but at the same time feels strongly that the needs of the hospital and the children are best served through a speedy resolution of this matter,” read a statement from the organization.
Shaggy insists there is no corruption.
“The money is safe. It is still there. If you tell me I have moved a little slow towards it, I am person if I’m spending people’s money, I’m going to spend it right,” he said.
First held in 2009, the biennial Shaggy & Friends has raised over US$1.6 million for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.
High-profile acts such as Sting, Wyclef Jean, Wyclef Jean, Lauryn Hill and Macy Gray have performed at the event.