Sat | Oct 21, 2017

Spare a likkle more for Portland, Mr Lee-Chin

Published:Wednesday | September 24, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Michael Lee-Chin (left) stands with Dorothy Lightbourne and Bruce Golding, then attorney general and prime minister, respectively, at the $280-million Port Antonio Resident Magistrate's Court Lee-Chin built, in June 2009.
Daryl Vaz GUEST COLUMNIST
1
2

This is an open letter to Michael Lee-Chin, OJ, executive chairman of AIC Ltd, Canada.

Dear Michael,

I read with great interest and admiration an article carried in The Gleaner regarding your "generous donation to Joseph Brant Hospital" in Burlington, Ontario, Canada, amounting to CDN$10 million. This follows an even more sizeable donation of CDN$30 million made by you in the past to the Royal Ontario Museum and described as the "largest gift to a museum in Canadian history".

With the rate of exchange as it stands today, this is equivalent to a whopping J$1 billion and J$3 billion, respectively. It is worthy to note that less annual budgetary allocations have been made to some ministries of Government for the current fiscal year.

Your philanthropy to these and many other institutions and activities, particularly in Canada, have been way beyond the call of duty, and while I applaud your generous gestures, I cannot help but feel compelled to make a special appeal to you on behalf of the people of Portland, for which you have had ties dating back to childhood.

Due to the stringent IMF programme for which quarterly targets have to be met, you will appreciate that important facilities such as our hospitals are subjected to budget cuts and dwindling donations from charitable organisations and individuals who find themselves inundated with requests.

BADLY IN NEED OF ASSISTANCE

I, therefore, make a public appeal for the Port Antonio Hospital to be on your priority list for your next donation, as it is badly in need of assistance for state-of-the-art equipment/physical upgrading and even the basic medical supplies to meet its daily core function of attending to the poor and underprivileged residents who are unable to pay for private medical treatment.

I do not wish to appear presumptuous in seeming to suggest where, and to whom, you should make your donations but, as you aware, the hospital serves thousands of residents of Portland.

At some time in the not-too-distant future, it will become an imperative to have better medical facilities available to not only residents but visitors alike, with an expected growth in tourism in the parish.

I refer to your own investments in Portland, which range from tourism to agriculture, and which have contributed to the parish's economy. I am also reminded of your deep love and passion for Jamaica and more so for Portland because of your family roots.

With my expressed desire to see your similar assistance of financial proportions going to the Port Antonio Hospital (and I could name other institutions for immediate attention), I humbly invite you and the minister of health and member of parliament for Eastern Portland, in which the hospital is located, to join me in a visit to the hospital on your next trip to Jamaica.

Once again, on behalf of all of Portland, we thank you for your investments to date, which surely have helped the struggling economy in Portland by creating well-needed jobs.

Daryl Vaz is MP of West Portland. Email feedback to columns@gleanerjm.com.