Take a bow, Shaggy and Friends

Friday, January 03, 2014    

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JAMAICAN international recording artiste Mr Orville 'Shaggy' Burrell deserves high commendation for his unwavering commitment to helping the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

Mr Burrell, we note, had been making financial donations to the hospital for nine years without seeking an ounce of publicity, which tells us that his interest in helping the institution is genuine and not rooted in any desire for self-promotion.

In fact, he admitted at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange that he only went public with his philanthropy because he needed help. And, although Mr Burrell didn't expand on that point, it was obvious to us that the reason he sought assistance was that the needs of the hospital outweighed the contributions he was able to make.

Please don't misunderstand us. Self-promotion is not a crime, but what we are saying is that there are those whose sole purpose for giving is in terms of what they can get out of it and not necessarily for the good of it.

In Mr Burrell's case, we note the statement of Dr Lambert Innis, head of anaesthesia and intensive care at the hospital, that the impact of the Shaggy and Friends show and the Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation on the hospital has been "major". But just as important, Dr Innis said, is the "invaluable" public awareness created by Mr Burrell's efforts.

Of course, what Mr Burrell is doing is not new, as famous people have, for many years, used their names to assist charities or generate assistance for needy institutions or causes.

What has warmed our hearts, though, is that Mr Burrell does not wear his philanthropy on his sleeve and is quick to share credit for the hospital's improvement with other artistes who perform gratis on the Shaggy and Friends show.

We are therefore pleased that ticket sales for this Saturday's staging of the show have been going extremely well, even as we recognise that the victory of Ms Tessanne Chin on NBC's The Voice two weeks ago has fuelled greater interest, given that she will be performing on the show, for the first time since her awe-inspiring achievement.

On Monday, Mr Burrell expressed the hope that eventually patrons will support the show, regardless of the acts, in order to contribute to the cause. That, of course, is a wonderful ideal, especially when it is placed in the context of his dream to have an all-Jamaican line-up. However, as he admitted, big acts have the power to pull crowds.

As such, it will be difficult to get the kind of support that such a worthy event deserves without the big names who do not perform here regularly.

We hope, however, that all will go well tomorrow and that the people who have bought tickets will, at the end of the event, leave feeling satisfied.

We also hope that the funds raised this year will be more than enough to equip the new Cardiac Unit that the hospital hopes to open

by March.

Our children deserve it.





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