THE EDITOR, Sir:
I have an idea on how we Jamaicans can creatively mark our 50th year of Independence. Imagine, for just one moment, that we could reduce our national debt by the end of 2012.
We can do this by engaging in a Jamaica 50 Cents Initiative. Consider a plan to voluntarily contribute 50 cents per minute for calls made on any of our mobile networks. My calculations indicate that this initiative could garner more than J$1 billion over six months based on a very conservative estimate of two million subscribers, with each making one three-minute call per day.
In reality, such an initiative might gross anywhere close to J$20 billion annually if true call frequency and subscription numbers are used in the calculations.
Of course, participation in the Jamaica 50 Cents Initiative would be voluntary. A subscriber who is willing to make contributions shall be required to sign up, much in the same way he or she now joins any of the many plans that are offered by LIME and Digicel.
The attractiveness of this initiative is that with the recent reduction in rates, most mobile-phone users will not mind the extra charge, especially since it will be going to a worthy cause. I also imagine also that there are many Jamaicans living abroad who might also be interested in the Jamaica 50 Cents Initiative.
Consider how inspiring it would be to get a daily report of the total contributions and watch the fund grow towards some agreed target. I cannot speak for others, but the mere thought of the excitement this would generate is awesome.
I think the fund should be managed by a small board of governors (all volunteers) in whom the people have unshakeable confidence. Many of us will agree that there are such people in our country.
I think the initiative is worth a try, especially for the spirit of pride it will ignite in the hearts of our people and the opportunities it can afford us. In this our 50th year, let us set out to make a difference.
Stony Hill PO, St Andrew