My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien donates 3 650-Gallon Tanks to Downtown Schools - How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Not Cool as it Wastes Ice Water during a Drought

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien donates 3 650-Gallon Tanks to Downtown Schools - How the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is Not Cool as it Wastes Ice Water during a Drought

“The ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and what it represents is admirable, and Digicel has supported it. However, it is imperative that we also localise such social-media trends and make them beneficial to Jamaicans”

Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien commenting on his decision to donate three 650 Gallon Water Tanks to School Downtown instead of taking up the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

Telecom Provider Digicel has done something that’s practical for a change. More importantly, it should send a message about following every trend Social Media want to throw at us, especially those coming from Developed World Countries like the US of A.

ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) is basically a Motor Neuron Disease that causes sufferers to lose control over all the muscles in their body, reducing them to a vegetative immobile state. The ALS Association has received some US$94 million in donations from existing donors and 2.1 million new donors since the Ice Bucket challenge started. This as if you opt out of the Ice Bucket Challenge, said to simulate the sensation that ALS sufferers feel, you have to pledge US$10 to their cause via donations at their website.

Instead of doing the Ice Bucket Challenge, a Social Media Campaign that was started to raise awareness about ALS (Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien opted to be very practical as explained in the article “Digicel boss wants Jamaican challenge”, Published Monday September 1, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner and “Expressions of joy at Digicel's 'Water Tank challenge'”, published Friday, August 29, 2014 9:57 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

He instead donated 650 gallon Water Tanks to the following High Schools downtown:

1.      Franklin Town Primary School
2.      St Michael's Primary School
3.      Kingston College

Digicel CEO Barry O'Brien and the Ice Bucket Challenge – Not Cool to Waste Ice Water during a Drought

Even better, he also, by his actions, hinted at a possible challenge to Corporate Jamaica to be practical and do likewise and make donations to high schools of a Water-related Nature. This as his donation was a follow-on of previous work being done by the Digicel Foundation, who’d already donated some 12 Tanks to some high Schools in Clarendon and St. Thomas.

A representative of the Digicel Foundation said that the organization initially bought twelve (12) Tanks and donated to eight (8) schools in St. Thomas and Clarendon as stated in the article “Digicel CEO gives 3 schools Water Tanks after Ice Bucket Challenge”, published Wednesday, August 27, 2014 4:50 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

This a day before on Thursday August 28th 2014 when Brand Ambassador Miss Kitty and Agent DG on given away more than JA$500,000 worth of book grants and cash prizes as stated in “Digicel delivers school supplies”, published Thursday August 28, 2014, The Jamaica Gleaner.

This mainly consisting of knapsacks laden with smartphones, Call Credit, 4G Broadband Modems, Back-to-School Huawei MediaPad Lite Tablets along with rulers, pencils, calculators, geometry set and other things.

Quick plug for myself folks!

I’m back in the Swallowfield Camp fresh from training from Milk River, Clarendon, a community which I've left since Saturday August 30th 2014 to come to Kingston, yet again for about the 10th or so time to complete my Professional Diploma in Teaching at the MICO University College as I'd pointed out in my blog article entitled “ Folks, I'm back in Swallowfield - Saturday and Sunday are Blogger Maintenance Day so no blogging”.

CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien plays it down the middle – NWC Water Restrictions STILL in effect

Thus CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien was not only playing it safe and practical, but also by the budget, seeing as they'd ALREADY begun donating Tanks to help high School in these parishes that were experiencing Water woes. Plus, the NWC (National Water Commission) had stated that Water lockoff were in effect since July 2014 as stated in “NWC to intensify Water restrictions in Corporate Area”, published Thursday, July 03, 2014 1:13 PM, The Jamaica Observer.

Minister of Water, Land, Environment and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill in a statement in House of Representatives on Wednesday July 2nd 2014, warned that they'd be adopting, quote “a zero tolerance approach” with persons found in breach of the Water Restrictions being taken before the Resident Magistrates Court as stated in the article “NWC Implements Water Restrictions”, published July 3, 2014 By Latonya Linton, The Jamaica Information Service.

Clearly, the High Schools were pleased with the donation, especially as Education Minister Ronald Thwaites endorsed the donation with his personal appearance during the handing over ceremony to quote Principal of Franklin Town Primary, Leroy Smith, quote: “I got a call to say, come to the school. I saw (Education) Minister (Ronald) Thwaites here and I was even more curious as to what was happening. To hear that the school is getting this donation is just perfect. We are ready to get it filled over the weekend just in time for the first day of school”.

KC (Kingston College), the boys in Purple and White had a very grateful Principal of Kingston College Dave Myri receive the Tanks, especially as it relieve their current Water Crisis at their Elletson Road Campus, quote: “We've been plagued by Water problems year round on both campuses, so this has moved us towards solving some of the Water-storage issues. Actually, just this morning we spoke to the parents on how the bathrooms would be maintained given the current Water crisis and so to have this donation by Digicel a few hours after, we are really grateful”.

Not to mention just in time too, as Water Restrictions are STILL in effect as noted in the article “Water Restrictions Still On Despite Rains”, Published Sunday August 31, 2014 11:06 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Very true, as since I’ve returned, I notice that Water goes away in the nights only to return at around 6:00am. I basically have to catch Water in my Yellow Bathtub just as I did in Milk River, Clarendon as noted in my blog article entitled “How to make Oreo Peanut Butter Chocolate Cupcakes - My Chocolate Summer in Milk River as I'm dreaming of Swallowfield”, a situation I survived thanks to the healing power of Chocolate!

Digicel opts to be Relevant – ALS Donations via Ice Bucket Challenge are a waste of Water

CEO of Digicel Barry O'Brien did the practical thing.

After all, Water Restrictions are STILL in force and it would look out of place to be wasting Water, even a Bucket full of Ice and cold Water you paid for and froze in your company’s freezer. Giving 650 gallon Water Tanks was a lot more practical, seeing as the Drought is still ongoing as noted in the article “Water Restrictions Still On Despite Rains”, Published Sunday August 31, 2014 11:06 am, The Jamaica Gleaner.

But he may have also dodged a controversy.

Turns out that ALS Association may be using Stem Cells from aborted foetus, according to American Archbishop Michael Jackels and other protesting their usage of the millions donated thus far as stated in the article “'Don't send them your money”, published Sunday August 31, 2014, by Ryon Jones, Staff Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner.

Looks like Telecom Provider Digicel proves yet again, like Haiti and controversy surrounding the corrupt practice of the Haitian Government led by Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe in collecting an illegal Tax as explained in my blog article entitled “Digicel Haiti removes VoIP Apps Blockade – How Laurent Lamothe Administrations Corrupt Telecom Tax for FNE has French Connection” was dodged by just being plain practical about how you wish your Brand Image to be perceived in the eyes of the customer.

Waste not Water on ALS Association Jamaicans; we need all the Water we can get as the Drought is still ongoing and the Chikungunya Virus shows no signs of abating as pointed out in my blog article entitled “21 Jamaicans now infected with Chikungunya Virus - DEET and Citronella are Trending Back-to-School Perfumes on the Playground”.

Time for Jamaicans to make up our own Social Media Challenge: the Black Tank Challenge, where communities in Jamaica go without bathing for a day or donate JA$100 toward the purchase of a Black Tank in their community that needs one.

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