Jamaica Observer: KINGSTON, By Brian Boritto – The future of charity concert ‘Shaggy And Friends’ is uncertain according to its conceptualiser and two-time Grammy winner Shaggy. This is due to what he labels unwarranted attacks on his character.

“In my heart of hearts I would love to, because you have to put the children first and we saw the good that it did,” Shaggy told the Jamaica Observer at the AC Hotel Kingston on Monday evening.

“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…It is not a conversation for myself, it is a conversation that involves these people… the preliminary conversation I have had with them. They are a little gutted and disgusted by the situation. Am I telling you that down the line time won’t change things? Probably, but we will cross that bridge when we are there,” he continued.

Shaggy, who toured the Bustamante Hospital For Children earlier that afternoon, said he is disturbed by media reports that he had not turned over $100 million raised from the 2018 staging of the Shaggy And Friends concert, proceeds which were earmarked to build an intensive care unit (ICU) at the facility.

Shaggy speaking to the Jamaica Observer at the AC Hotel Kingston on Monday evening. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)

“That narrative would cause discomfort at the end of the day,” he said, “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.”

According to the entertainer, the project’s initial aim was to build an ICU, but due to “land shortage” at the hospital it morphed into refurbishing an existing five-bed unit to seven.

“After COVID hit… they said they are going to need the money to do some ward. Then we found out at this time from the Charities Act of Jamaica that we cannot use the funds to do a ward when it was earmarked and raised to do an ICU. Whatever yuh raise it fah, ah dat yuh affi spen’ it pon so if mi tell yuh seh mi raise dah money yah fi buy chair, mi cyaan buy bed, according to the Charities Act — that’s illegal,” Shaggy disclosed.

“The money is safe; it is still there. If you tell me I have moved a little slow towards it, I am the type of person [who] if I’m spending people money, I’m going to spend it right,” he added.

Started in 2009, the biennial Shaggy And Friends concert raised more than US$1.6 million for the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

In addition to Jamaican acts the event attracted Lauryn Hill, Sting, Wyclef Jean, Doug E Fresh, Bunji Garlin and Fay-Ann Lyons, and R City.