Icy reception for Dominican PM

Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit takes the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS research.
By Jasminee Sahoye

While many would like to tell a politician to go soak their head, Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has done it for real, and for a good cause.

Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit

Skerrit recently took the Ice Bucket Challenge for ALS in the presence of some anxious onlookers.

The ALS (Amyotropic lateral sclerosis) Ice Bucket Challenge, a popular social media fad that started in the U.S. to raise awareness for the disease, is making an impact in the Caribbean.

Skerrit is believed to be the first among heads of state in the Caribbean to take the challenge.The ALS Association has reportedly raised almost $80 million so far worldwide.

The phenomenon started in Boston to help raise awareness for ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) with a “pay it forward” concept where the person who completes the feat then nominates three other people to follow suit after donating $100.

Also joining the challenge is Jamaica’s Youth and Culture Minister Lisa Hanna. Usain Bolt and Shelly Ann Fraser, Jamaica’s gold medal Olympians, also took on the challenge.

In Barbados, they have their own Ice Bucket Challenge to raise funds for special needs students at the Challenor Creative Arts and Training Centre.

A number of West Indians living here and in the U.S. are posting their Ice Bucket Challenge online mainly via Facebook and Instagram. However, there has been some criticism on whether those who are taking on the challenge fully understand it. Many are just throwing buckets of iced-water on themselves for the fun of it.

The disease attacks nerve cells and ultimately leads to total paralysis, though the mind remains sharp. Life expectancy is typically two to five years from the time of diagnosis.