Monday, April 1, will be the beginning of sad days for boledo sellers countrywide, especially those with scant resources who depend on selling boledo for their livelihood. Boledo sellers have been notified that on that day, they must either have a computer with internet to sell boledo, or lose their livelihoods, since no longer will boledo be sold with pens and books.
But even worse than that. Those who avail themselves to sell boledo will have to sell a minimum of $2,000 weekly, or lose their rights to sell boledo.
I have friends who have been selling boledo since “king hatchet was a hammer.” Some even have mortgages with the banks and many are able to send their sons and daughters to high school with the commissions they get from boledo.
Once upon a time, boledo sellers used to get 20% commissions on their sales. That was reduced to 15% and now to 13%. With the new boledo regime, commissions will be at 10%, and with added expenses (internet).
I am sorry for my friends who sell boledo, who won’t be able to work to maintain themselves and their families. How can the Government of Belize allow that to happen? As is, only one Chinese banker has the absolute monopoly control over boledo sales countrywide. Is there collusion between GOB and the Chinese banker?
After April 1, only the Chinese sellers and establishments will be able to sell boledo. The poor Belizean boledo sellers can’t compete with the Chinese, and they will effectively be left without their livelihood.
Many people question the integrity of the boledo draw because of the outrageous ways in which some numbers play and repeat playing. I know an Orange Walk businessman who sells boledo with the machine.
Not long ago, he won $55,000.00 on a Sunday draw. But guess what? He preferred to buy the number, not from his machine, or any other machine, but from a boledo seller who sells with book and pen.
Asked why he did so, he replied that he feared that his number would not play, and that his purchase could be monitored before the draw. In this age of technological trickery, his assertion would not be farfetched.
It is time to bring back the boledo barrel. It might sound primitive, but people would have more trust in the boledo draw.
It is also time for GOB to nationalize boledo, use the proceeds for charity and not let it accrue to any private individual. Boledo winnings should be tax-free. The Government of Belize has to make a quick and purposeful decision: save the livelihoods of Belizean boledo sellers. Failure to do so will amount to treason.