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Shaggy's Foundation Releases J$100 Million to Equip ICU at Bustamante Hospital

After years of controversy and accusations of misappropriation of funds, Shaggy’s Make a Difference Foundation has finally released the J$100 million raised at the 2018 Shaggy and Friends Concert. The donation was earmarked to equip the intensive care unit of the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew with additional beds. The hospital board chairman Kenneth Benjamin has reported that preparation work for the facility is now underway.

Shaggy's Foundation Releases J$100 Million to Equip ICU at Bustamante Hospital

According to Benjamin, "The money was never to be turned over. It was to pay for it. So with our permission, they have brought in the equipment that is needed for the extended ICU. Also, we brought in engineers and architects who are working on it as we speak."

"The money has been released but they are paying out as it moves. They have already paid for the architecture of the building. The second thing is that we will have about four additional units in the ICU, and they have started to have dialogue with us as to what we need so they can order it. We will have more units and we will supply more equipment for those units," he added.

The controversy over the funds began in November 2019 when The Gleaner published an article insinuating misappropriation of funds by the foundation and bringing the Dancehall megastar’s name into disrepute. Shaggy and Benjamin explained that despite the symbolic JM$100 million cheque handed over following the concert, the Foundation had to await the expansion of the ICU space at the hospital to facilitate the additional beds.

The Rae Town native had also re-emphasized that it was never the foundation’s policy to hand over cash directly to the hospital but rather to meet its needs via the procuring of items. Since the impasse over the funds, Shaggy has been reticent about the continuation of the foundation. However, Benjamin confirmed that the equipment is now being installed in the ICU, and the foundation has paid for the architecture of the building.

Shaggy's representative, Sharon Burke of Solid Agency, and Bustamante Children's Hospital chairman, Kenneth Benjamin, have insisted that the funds are available, safe, and earning interest, despite reports that the foundation was behind in its filing mandatory audited financial statements for the last two years, placing itself "in danger of being stripped of its charity status."

Shaggy has not ruled out staging the fundraising concert again in the future, and while he is still making personal donations to the hospital, he remains reticent about pushing the issue based on what had transpired as a result of The Gleaner's story.


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