Something amazing is happening in T&T and we must be thankful to the National Lotteries Control Board (NLCB).
Trinidadians and Tobagonians of low and middle income, who after spending a few measly dollars on a Lotto ticket and then winning millions of dollars, somehow miraculously acquire the art of acting normal.
I say “acting normal” because while shifting from being low-income to suddenly becoming a millionaire can transform any human being, we know too well the psyche of the average Trini when it comes to a sudden cash flow that involves a meagre couple of thousand, more so one that involves millions.
Over the years, Lotto jackpots have peaked over five, ten, 15 and 20 million dollars, and in almost all of those draws a single winner (ticket) has hit the jackpot. Isn’t that amazing? But the truly amazing part is how the average Trini continues to live life in a normal manner after winning those gigantic sums of money.
Let’s be true to ourselves. Ordinarily, when that kind of cash comes into the average Trini’s hands, even though he’s living in a rundown shack, the first things he’s most likely to do is visit one of our established car dealers and buy himself a brand new SUV, acquire an abundance of brand-name clothing, and invite close family and friends to celebrate with the finest whisky.
And maybe after a million or so in wanton spending and inevitable but previously unforeseen challenges, only then may he begin to consider expert advice. Meanwhile, the entire neighbourhood knows who the new millionaire on the block is.
Of course it would be difficult to tell if wealthy people win the Lotto jackpot because they would continue their lifestyle in a normal fashion. And it’s not possible that only the wealthy win Lotto jackpots, is it?
And since NLCB officials are the first to identify a Lotto winner, given the millions that are frequently won with a single ticket, it is logical to assume the NLCB is the first to offer sound financial advice to winners.
But in surprisingly un-Trini-like manner, over the years, none of these winners has slipped into any hyperactive jamboree and declared their booties, but have kept their winnings under wraps.
Therefore, presumably, if they do indeed offer fiscal guidance, the NLCB is evidently doing a remarkable service. Thanks again, NLCB. You’re not just making millionaires of Trinis, you’re teaching us a fabulous lesson. Great job.