Jamaica Medical Foundation Annual General Meeting F/Y 2007/2008 Held June 27, 2009
Chairman’s Report Our Guest Speaker, Mr. Bruce Bowen, President & CEO, Scotiabank Jamaica, Special Guests from the IAJ & other Companies, Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to this the 22nd Annual General Meeting of the Jamaica Medical Foundation. As we reflect on the year just gone, despite the challenges, we have some successes that we can celebrate. We have been around for 22 years now and plan to be around for posterity. The year under review was a difficult one economically. This impacted negatively on our ability to garner funds either by fund raising or donations. Both individuals and companies stayed close to their purses and wallets as an unprecedented increase in commodity prices, particularly oil, led to what we now know as the greatest economic calamity since the Great Depression of the 1920’s and 30’s. We were, however, able to continue to build our partnerships, recognize the contribution of outstanding individuals in the medical profession, and to build a foundation for the future. FINANCE Against the difficult economic background, we were only able to grow our funds marginally through a prudent investment policy. At the end of our financial year we had just over $17 million dollars in our fund. Notwithstanding our difficulties, like the line from that great song from Frank Sinatra, we believe that “Even when our chips are low there must still be some left for giving”. As responsible money managers however, we scaled down our donations to match our inflows and paid out approximately Two Hundred Thousand Dollars ($200,000) through our gifting policy. This has brought positive changes in the lives of the persons who received the funds. As our Foundation has a long term time horizon, we have invested a modest amount of our funds (25%) in equities with the knowledge that equities, over the long term, outperform other investment asset classes. We have made those investments in blue chip companies with strong earnings and aggressive dividend policies. In addition we have embarked on a dividend reinvestment plan which will allow us to accumulate additional shares at relatively low prices which will redound to our benefit when the market turns.
PROSTATE CANCER PROGRAMME Much of our efforts during the year under review were used to build a partnership with the Jamaica Urological Society. We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with them to raise funds to undertake research on prostate cancer which has terminated the lives of so many Jamaican men, most notably, former Prime Minister Michael Norman Manley. This project will be carried out by the Urologists in collaboration with the research department if the University Hospital of the West Indies. This project will seek to build a database from all the cases of prostate cancer from laboratories and hospitals throughout the island. This will be the first scientific database of its kind in Jamaica and will give profound insights into prostate cancer. Although we have accepted the indications from the records of the Jamaica Cancer Registry that we have the highest rate of prostate cancer in the world, there are some doubts about the reliability of some of the data surrounding this matter. JMF RECOGNITION PROGRAMME We continued to recognize the work done by outstanding professionals in the medical sector as we did in 2007 when we honored Dr. Lawson Douglas for his work with Kidney patients and the provision of dialysis services. We then turned our attention to the urologists. In 2008 we honored 5 urologists for the tremendous work they have been doing. They are DR Trevor Tulloch, Dr Robert Wan, Dr Keith Wedderburn, Dr Mark Cadogan and Dr William Aitken. At this yearâ€™s banquet we broadened the recognition of distinguished professionals in the medical fraternity in consultation with Dr. Rosemarie Wright-Pascoe of the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) another partnership which we will be building on. We gave awards to Dr. Denise Eldemire, Dr. Winston Dawes, Dr Freddie Clarke, Dr Minerva Thame and Dr Kathleen Coard. They were honored for the outstanding contribution they have made in their respective areas of medicine. The awards were done in collaboration with the Medical Association of Jamaica, a partnership which we expect to continue for years to come. We wish to recognize the leadership of Dr. Trevor Tulloch in getting our project ready for implementation or as the Americans would say, shovel â€“ready, while we welcome Dr. Mayhew the new President of the Jamaica Urologists Association. The Foundation is now concentrating its effort on raising the new 15 million dollars required for the Prostate Cancer Research Project. We have had meetings with potential partners and the results so far are encouraging. We confidently expect the project to be on its way before the end of the year.
THE WAY FORWARD As we look ahead, we are mindful of our mission and mandate, though fully cognizant of the economic realities that we face. We have already taken a decision to spend some time during the 2008/2009 year to review our activities, plan the road ahead, and to make some necessary changes in our organizational structure and our modus operandi. Part of it will be constitutional changes to reflect the reality that our original parent, LICA, has now been â€œmorphedâ€? into the Insurance Association of Jamaica (IAJ) by way of the merger with Jamaica Association of general Insurance Companies (JAGIC.) We will examine the best fit that is possible between the IAJ and the Foundation. THE Hundred Million Dollar ($100M) Initiative Once we complete the funding from the Prostate Cancer Programme at the end of the year, we will be moving full steam ahead to re-energize our $100 Million Dollar Initiative. We plan to focus on building our fund to $100 million dollars by 2015. This is critical to the JMF fulfilling its mission as it will allow us to do more meaningful interventions with our policy if gifting up to 75% of investment income without compromising our capital base. We are confident that a repurposed JMF will develop the strategies necessary to achieve our financial goals. Our plans will include a public appeal to garner funds from Corporate Jamaica as well as the man in the street. We have already opened the bank account for this initiative and have had advanced discussions with a major media partner who will put their muscle behind this campaign. We will also build on our recently held public education seminar to both build public awareness about our work while we seek their support. We plan to build on some previous work we have done with the Jamaican Diaspora so they can also be a part of our efforts at the JMF because they have a stake, and interest, in health care issues in Jamaica. Our website is under construction and will be operational in the near future to give both information on the JMF and to provide with some of the more critical health issues in Jamaica. CONCLUSION In closing we wish to emphasize that we have prepared ourselves to face the difficult economic environment. We promise, however, that we will continue to do our best as we pursue the Vision of the Foundation. Finally I wish to express my gratitude to those who supported us in the past and those who will in the future. I wish to express appreciation to our team of Trustees, our partners and to the IAJ Secretariat for the support they have given us. Thank you all for coming and enjoy the rest of the morning.