Kingston, Jamaica: The graduates of the Food for the Poor (FFP) Summer Band Camp were filled with excitement after hearing a congratulatory message from Sean Paul that they appeared to not notice the heat of the 99-degree afternoon. The Grammy Award-Winning Recording, on his European tour, was in Norway on the day of the commencement ceremony, held on Thursday, August 17 on the grounds of the headquarters of the charity organisation at Ellerslie Pen in Spanish Town.


The Sean Paul Foundation has been a sponsor of the band camp programme for one year and intends to pledge ongoing support of the music program that focuses on inner-city youth. In his message,  Sean Paul urged the band campers who had completed a six-week program to continue honing their craft and to be committed to being ambassadors of Jamaica’s reggae and dancehall music.

Amongst parents and well wishers, Melissa Tavares-Wilson, owner of Mels Sticky Jams, Steve Wilson, co-manager to Sean Paul and officer at the Sean Paul Foundation, Adjunct Professor Aldrick ‘Allie’ McNab, OD, JP, and Craig Moss-Solomon, executive director, at Food for the Poor Jamaica joined in the celebration of the graduates of the Food for the Poor 13th Band Camp on Thursday, August 17.

“You know that our country has a diverse musical expression that has impacted the world, and you are the future of that. To every one of you who gets to keep your instruments, that is your weapon of being a reggae solder right now. Keep practising and doing what you do,” said Sean Paul in the audio recording played by his co-manager and representative of the Sean Paul Foundation, Steve “Urchin” Wilson at the close of his inspiring speech.

Steve Wilson, co-manager to Sean Paul and officer at the Sean Paul Foundation presents Oswald Scott, a founding member of the Jamaica Constabulary Force band and senior band camp music instructor with certificates for his group of trumpet players at the commencement ceremony for the Food for the Poor Band Camp, held on Thursday, August 17.

The foundation has also been a dedicated supporter of several initiatives of Food for the Poor Jamaica including distributing food and toiletries as well as tablets to children during the pandemic, so they could attend online classes.


Wilson expressed that at the start of Sean Paul’s journey, the avenues to study music were few and far between and that he was impressed to see the expansion of the band camp, which now includes Saturday classes. “When Sean Paul and I were entering the music industry – there was no FFP Band Camp or Alpha Music School offering courses to help us navigate our way. Over the past thirteen years, this camp has become more than just a summer programme; it has grown into a shining beacon of hope for more than 500 inner-city youths,” Wilson expressed.


He continued, “The generous donation made by the Sean Paul Foundation to this program embodies the spirit of possibility and our belief that music education can ignite the flames of change in Jamaica. We are deeply honoured to toast the bright stars of band camp who have embarked on a journey that has not only taught them to play musical instruments but has also nurtured life skills and hopefully planted a seed of unshakable sense of purpose.”


The band camp is a year-long initiative that has provided youths residing in underserved communities with the necessary skills to transform from musical novices into skilled musicians. Over 60 youths who enrolled for summer 2023 learnt how to play an instrument of their choice from a selection of drums, bass guitar, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, clarinet and for the first time this year, the keyboard. They were trained in technique, performance and leadership skills.


According to FFP Executive Director Craig Moss-Solomon, the band camp requires two things to function like a well-oiled machine.

Craig Moss-Solomon, executive director, at Food for the Poor Jamaica presents Taquane Bowen, former band camper and a music student at the Edna Manley College for the Visual and Performing Arts, with certificates for the group of saxophone players during the commencement ceremony for the Food for the Poor Band Camp, held on Thursday, August 17.

“It takes donor funding and more importantly instructors to teach; the instructors need to have the want and will to teach. Each year, for us, it is always a challenge and struggle to get donors to support it, so much thanks to the Sean Paul Foundation for stepping in to assist. To their team, and especially to Sean Paul for sending an audio-recorded message to our graduates, we are grateful. These are all key elements that make it special for them and let everyone involved know that locally, not just overseas, there are persons willing to donate towards helping and giving back,” Moss-Solomon expressed.


He added, “We are humbly so proud of them and what our band camp means to them. Each year they look forward to it. I think students benefit a lot; it gives them a sense of pride and accomplishment, and in general, it keeps them occupied rather than getting into mischief or going into something that would otherwise cause harm to the neighbourhood and families.”

For more information on the Sean Paul Foundation contact Carlette DeLeon at or call (876) 322-3578.