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August 28, 2014
Star Entertainment


Minister slammed for Ice Bucket Challenge

Lisa Hanna Ice Bucket Challenge. - Contributed

Co-writer of Vybz Kartel's book 'The Voice of The Jamaican Ghetto', Michael Dawson, has slammed Minister of Youth and Culture, Lisa Hanna, for using water to do the popular Ice Bucket Challenge, while many Jamaicans are facing a water crisis.

According to Dawson, there are several persons in places like Portmore, St Catherine, who would benefit greatly from a bucket of the precious commodity.

The Ice Bucket Challenge involves the pouring of a container filled with ice water over the head and is intended to raise awareness about motor neuron diseases like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's Disease). In just one month, the ALS Association has received $80 million in donations.

According to Dawson, while he applauds Minister Hanna for joining the slew of persons who have raised awareness about the disease, she has another issue of importance in the inner city.

"I was contacted by some residents of St Catherine and other Portmore residents who cringed when they saw the Honourable Lisa Hanna take the Ice Bucket Challenge. Many salivated in the afternoon over how a drop from that bucket that was poured over her head could have allowed them to brush their teeth this morning. Others were traumatised, remembering how many days and nights they had to curb their natural bodily functions, as they did not even have enough water to fill a bucket to flush the toilet," Dawson said.

Several influential and not so influential Jamaicans have taken the Ice Bucket Challenge, a list which includes Ms Kitty, Asafa Powell, Chris Gayle, dancer Latonya Style, Keiva di Diva, Tessanne Chin and Agent Sasco/Assassin. The author is now calling for the public to take part in the 'No Water In Pipe' challenge, in an attempt to raise awareness of the island's current water crisis.

Dawson is imploring Jamaicans to upload pictures and/or videos to the Internet depicting no running water, dirty water, low water pressure and frequent lock-offs. He also pledges to donate a bucket of clean water to the poor, for each of the first 1,000 verifiable pictures or videos posted.

"Let me be very clear, I think the minister was genuine, well intentioned and acted out of an abundance of care for those with the disease and used her notoriety to help, and for that she must be applauded. However, I think this situation reminded me why Jamaica truly needs a 'Voice of the Ghetto' to highlight the plight of the poor to the powers that be, who largely determine their fate, but seem oblivious to their struggles based on the effect their draconian policies, decisions and actions have on the less fortunate," Dawson said.

Minister Lisa Hanna was challenged by Usain Bolt and also extended the challenge to Brian Lara and reggae artiste Gramps Morgan.

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