Central Bank launches $50 polymer banknotes

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The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) launched its new $50 polymer banknotes yesterday during a video teleconference.

The event was chaired by Governor of the ECCB, Timothy N.J. Antoine, and the Chairman of the ECCB Monetary Council, Grenadian Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell.

Governor Antoine addressed OECS reporters and members of the financial sector, stating that these new bank notes will be cleaner, safer and stronger.

“Compared to paper notes, polymer notes are cleaner [they are resistant to dirt and moisture], more secure [they have advanced security features which make them harder to counterfeit], more durable as they last at least, three times longer than paper notes and more environmentally friendly,” he said.

According to the Governor for the Central Bank, the notes will also have a new design feature, allowing for people with visual impairment to easily recognise them.

“The switch to polymer necessitated some changes to the designs of the notes in respect of technical and security specifications. However, even with these new design elements, we were careful to maintain a degree of familiarity for ease of use.

“Very importantly, we have incorporated a feature [raised bumps] to make it easy for the blind and visually impaired to handle their money and their business,” he said.

Some of the new design features also include the signature of the current Governor and an image of the former ECCB Governor, Sir K. Dwight Venner who served from December 1989 until November 2015.  Sir K. Dwight died in December 2016.

Another feature is the new portrait orientation design, which is a departure from the current landscape orientation of the paper banknotes.

Additionally, a holographic foil strip has been introduced as an anti-counterfeiting feature on the $20, $50 and $100, which are most susceptible to counterfeiting.

Antoine added that the new $50 banknotes will be in circulation from next month and will run concurrently with the existing paper notes during the transition


“The circulation of the new notes will be phased. As unfit paper notes are returned to the Central Bank and our current inventory of paper notes is depleted, they will be replaced by polymer notes.

“Therefore, as a practical matter, the public ought to expect that both paper and polymer notes will be in circulation at the same time. They are both legal tender,“ he said.

The $10, $20 and $100 polymer banknotes are to be launched in September 2019 while the five-dollar banknotes will be launched in September 2020.

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