Regional

'Yohan cares'

Blake donates $1m to We Care Foundation

BY HORACE HINES Observer West reporter MONTEGO BAY, St James

Thursday, March 13, 2014    

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THE We Care Foundation received a major boost last week when former World 100m gold medallist Yohan Blake donated $1 million to the organisation.

The announcement was made via a video message during the second staging of the Rainforest Seafood Festival at the Catherine Hall Entertainment Centre on Ash Wednesday.

The organisers of the event expressed profound appreciation for the native Montegonian's benevolence.

"The Rainforest Seafood's team is immensely appreciative of Yohan Blake's contribution of $1 million to the We Care Foundation. Although Yohan was unable to attend the Seafood Festival due to his hectic training schedule, he was able to send a video message which was played on the big screen announcing his donation, much to the delight of festival patrons. Rainforest is so pleased to have had the opportunity to work with Yohan, his YB Afraid Foundation and his sponsor, Wata," Bethany Young, public relations associate for the event told the Jamaica Observer.

Proceeds from the event will go to We Care For Cornwall Regional Hospital, an initiative launched in 2011 by a group of 'Montegonians' concerned about the welfare of the facility which is located in the resort city.

During the inaugural staging of the Rainforest Seafood Festival last year, over $6 million was raised by organisers. The money was used to purchase equipment for the Cornwall Regional Hospital paediatric ward.

Meanwhile, chairman of We Care Foundation Adam Stewart has given the organisers the thumbs up for another successful staging of the seafood festival, which climaxed with live performances by some of the top acts in local entertainment such as Etana, John Holt, Taurus Riley, I-Otane, Konshens, and Busy Signal.

"The vibes is incredible. I think the Rainforest team has outdone themselves. The artistes have been totally clean with their lyrics and of course this is to benefit the We Care Foundation. Overall it has been a success," Stewart, who is also CEO of the Jamaica Observer, expressed during the well-attended event.

Young was equally upbeat over the successful staging of the event which came under the threat of being washed out by lingering afternoon showers.

"Despite the rain, we at Rainforest Seafoods were very pleased with the second staging of the Rainforest Seafood Festival and feel confident that we have solidified our festival as a calendar event in western Jamaica. Ash Wednesday is now synonymous with the Rainforest Seafood Festival," said Young.

In the meantime, the We Care Foundation chairman articulated the view that the Rainforest Seafood Festival is off to one of the greatest starts in the history of Jamaica.

"Considering that this is the second year that Rainforest has staged this event -- to my mind this is the fastest, most successful start of a festival in the history of Jamaica," Stewart told the Observer West.

Entertainment promotion guru Robert "Ducksie" Russell, a member of the Sumfest promotion team, expressed that the Rainforest Festival is on par with all the established local musical festivals.

"It is one of the best festivals that has ever been held in Montego Bay. It now rivals all the big festivals that are being held in Jamaica. This is the second year and I am more than pleased with the production: the staging, the preparation of the ground, the line-up, the security, everything is very, very good," Russell argued.

"The support of the public is overwhelming. We had some rain earlier in the day, but it has cleared up and people are pouring into the venue and I am proud of Rainforest and Brian Jardim for the effort that they have put together for the Cornwall Regional Hospital."

When the Observer West caught up with an elated Anthony Smikle, CEO of Cornwall Regional Hospital, he was full of praises for the We Care Foundation.

"It has been tremendous this year, and I think it will be a mainstay in terms of western Jamaica on Ash Wednesdays that we have this type of festival. Again, we thank We Care, Rainforest Seafoods and all of the participating companies for this. It has been successful, tremendous," Smikle emphasised.

He pointed out that last year, funding raised from the festival was concentrated on the paediatric ward, however this year, he said, the proceeds will go towards putting in ventilators in the intensive care units.

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