By Richard Johnson—
SHAGGY is calling on Jamaicans in the diaspora to contribute to causes here at home, such as his Make A Difference Foundation, which supports the Bustamante Hospital for Children in St Andrew.
The reggae/dancehall artist explained that there are more Jamaicans living overseas than there are here at home, and added that for the most part, the Jamaicans overseas are in better financial positions than their local counterparts, and are therefore in a better position to offer assistance to the less fortunate.

Top:Reggae artist Shaggy (second left) and fellow artists Assassin (left), Matthew Schuler (fourth left), Wayne Marshall (second right) and Don Schuler (right), as well as Dr Lambert Ennis, head of anaesthesia and intensive care at the Bustamante Hospital for Children give the thumbs up to this wekened’s Shaggy and Friends concert during yesterday’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange. (PHOTO: NAPHTALI JUNIOR)

Bottom: Assassin, Matthew Schuler and Shaggy

“The majority of our population is poor; whole heap a dem over deh so have money. Dem inna better job, better situation. They can engage, but part of the problem is half of them are scared. Dem don’t want to come down here for a cause because they are terrified… it’s as simple as that.

To mobilise the diaspora is hard,” he told yesterday’s Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange. He bemoaned the fact that the majority of the Jamaicans living overseas do not have a connection with the island as many have not visited in a while, therefore getting the message to them regarding causes similar to the Bustamante Hospital for Children is hard unless they visit.

“Much like how we have leaders in Jamaica who take a stand on certain issues and push things, you don’t have community organisers in the Jamaican diaspora that are active… who are just at it.

You just kinda find a man who will say ‘mi a yaadie’, wear the colours and a it dat and big up themself when Bolt a run. For us to have a strong Jamaican or Caribbean voice we need organisation, we need people to be actively supporting causes in Jamaica,” said Shaggy, whose concert in aid of the Bustamante Hospital for Children is scheduled for this Saturday in Kingston.

He is calling on Jamaican companies operating overseas to come forward and support causes here at home to help offset the strain brought to bear on the local private sector, which is already operating in a difficult economic climate and has to bear the brunt of the requests for assistance from local charities.

“There are Jamaican companies overseas that make millions of dollars. I am encouraging them to set up a fund and allocate certain monies to certain Jamaican charities,” said Shaggy.