KINGSTON, Jamaica - A back-to-school event organised by dancehall artiste Spice descended into chaos on Friday after a massive crowd turned up at the Hope Gardens venue, pushing and screaming in hopes of getting access to book vouchers.
Scores of people filed into the venue as early as 10:30 am and the crowd became boisterous when the entertainer arrived shortly after 1:00 pm and started issuing the vouchers valued at $5,000 a piece.
Despite Spice’s attempts to calm the crowd, informing them that there were plenty of vouchers for everyone, many of the attendees tumbled over barricades and other security features put in place by Spice’s team and the Jamaica Constabulary Force.
The chaos, which even saw some people fainting in the massive crowd, forced Spice to close the event early.
The newly minted ‘Queen of the Dancehall’ later took to Instagram Live where she addressed the situation, noting that she wasn’t upset but could empathise with the attendees, adding that she would be working with her team to find another, more organised way to distribute the vouchers.
“There’s a lot of people that is mad or maybe upset but personally within myself, I'm not upset. I'm more understanding, that's really what I want to say. I don't want nobody feel like, 'oh, Spice is mad at you, or whatever.’ I understand, because at the end of the day, I know that people were pushing because they wanted to get an envelope,” Spice said.
“Now, it's for me to kind of come back with my group and say, ‘okay, we printed the armbands, we've got the security barriers, we got the Jamaica Constabulary Force involved, what more or what else can we do,” Spice added.
Spice noted that it was a little disappointing that the event had ended prematurely, in light of the fact that the novel coronavirus pandemic had restricted her foundation’s activities over the past two years.
She stressed that her team was committed to finding a way to distribute the vouchers, which total in the millions of dollars, in a more amicable and orderly way.
The Grace Hamilton Women Empowerment Foundation (GHWEF), which was founded in 2018, hosts an annual back-to-school event in aid of low-income families.
For the 2022/20223 academic year the foundation plans to disburse $5 million in back-to-school support.
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