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MIAMI — International reggae artist, Orville "Shaggy" Burrell is the 2011 recipient of International Humanitarian Award presented by the American Friends of Jamaica (AFJ).

He was recognised for his contribution to the health of children in Jamaica through his Shaggy Make a Difference Foundation.

Making the presentation at the annual Peacock Soiree, held last Saturday April 9 at Jungle Island in Miami, President of the AFJ and former United States Ambassador to Jamaica, Sue M. Cobb, said that “Shaggy had personally demonstrated the tremendous power that comes from the act of giving."

In accepting the prestigious award, Shaggy said he “was carrying out his duty as a Jamaican national and doing something near and dear to his heart."

He said that he was always amazed “at how much was done with so little by the island’s medical professionals” and early in his career, had committed to making a difference in the lives of children, who receive care at the Bustamante Hospital for Children.

He said that the Shaggy Foundation has been instrumental in raising money and donating beds and medical equipment to the facility. Members of the Foundation, and other volunteers, visit the hospital every year to spend quality time with the children and present them with gifts, and to carry out physical improvement work. They have also created a garden to improve the ambiance for the children.

Jamaica’s Ambassador to the United States, Her Excellency Audrey Marks, who attended the ceremony, commended Shaggy, noting that through his philanthropic work, he has not only demonstrated a generosity of spirit, “but a sincerity of purpose that Jamaicans at home and abroad must continue to emulate."

Ambassador Marks also praised the AFJ for 30 years of commitment to Jamaica through support in the areas of education, health care and social development.  The ongoing efforts of the AFJ, she said, have made a tangible difference in the lives of thousands of Jamaicans.

Ambassador Marks, who was making her first official visit to South Florida, urged the Diaspora to continue to support development initiatives in the island. “Let us all resolve to play our part in helping Jamaica climb to rank with the developed countries of the world,” she stated.

Also attending the function were Consul General to Miami, Sandra Grant Griffiths; Director of Tourism and Chairman of the Jamaica Tourist Board (JTB), John Lynch; and Deputy Director, JTB Miami location, Donnie Dawson.

The AFJ was instituted in 1982 by former United States Ambassadors to Jamaica, and since then has raised more than US$11 million (US) to support charitable and social programmes aimed at improving the lives of Jamaicans. 

Activities of the AFJ are supported by US corporations with commercial interests in Jamaica, members of the diplomatic corps, the Jamaican Diaspora and the Jamaican private sector.

 

By CHERYL WYNTER, JIS Reporter