'It's not gambling money' - Ho Lung defends Supreme Ventures backing
The announcement that Supreme Ventures Limited (SVL) has joined forces with the Missionaries of the Poor (MOP) to bring back Father Richard Ho Lung and Friends' popular musical, 'Moses', has left many wondering whether the partnership presents a conflict of interest, given the contrast in the objectives of the two entities.
Some people believe that accepting sponsorship from SVL goes against the church's stance on gambling, but Ho Lung, who started the charity, does not. In an interview with THE STAR, Father Ho Lung said MOP does not view the partnership between both organisations in any negative light. "They've sort of mentioned to us, in a very clear way, that they have different source of funding," he said. "Supreme Ventures has other aspects within the organisation that funding can come from and not necessarily the gambling side."
Pointing out that this was not the first time that his organisation has accepted sponsorship from Supreme Ventures, Father Ho Lung explained that the company, though largely associated with gambling, is also very supportive of charity events and is a company that prides itself on giving back in any way it can. "The Church tolerates gambling, but doesn't promote it. Supreme Ventures people, I don't look at them from that aspect [gambling]. I look at them as people, over the years, that care for the poor. I concentrate on the poor."
Speaking at the recent launch of the theatrical production, assistant vice-president in charge of group corporate communications at Supreme Ventures, Simone Clarke-Cooper, said there was no hesitation when the company was presented with the opportunity to come on board as a sponsor.
"Supreme Ventures answered the call to support this production because we have been involved with the Missionaries of the Poor for over eight years, and we know that thousands of Jamaicans rely on the work of Father Ho Lung and the Brothers," she said. "Their commitment to this country and the most vulnerable members of our society is something we are more than willing to support, and continue supporting, for as long as the need exists," she said.
Still on the topic of sponsorship, Father Ho Lung explained that his productions usually bring sponsors on board in a way that other productions/events cannot because of the nature of his shows. "Even people who would normally compete with each other don't do that with our shows, they all come on board. For example, Wisynco, Lasco, GraceKennedy, they are all competitors but they all put that aside and say, 'This show is about building the nation and not about competition'."
Moses, the story of the iconic biblical character, returns to the National Arena for shows on September 24 and 25 and October 1 and 2, with special performances for students in-between those dates. Proceeds from the event's staging will go towards the work of the MOP.