TT $100 bill gets an upgrade with polymer note

The Government of Trinidad and Tobago has passed legislation to replace the TT$100 paper bills with polymer notes.

The new bills are based on a polymer substrate and have significantly enhanced security features. They became legal tender and were distributed to commercial banks on December 9 and made available to the wider public on December 10.

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (CBTT) announced that the paper notes will remain legal tender until December 31, 2019, and be demonitised from January 1, 2020. Central Bank, along with the Bankers Association of Trinidad and Tobago (BATT), indicated that the commercial banks would facilitate deposits of paper notes from their customers and provide them with the new $100 polymer bills.

Minister of National Security Stuart Young indicated the sudden move came as a result of issues with national security. Given the urgency of the matter, the government brought a bill to Parliament to fast track circulation within two weeks time.

“In order for us to fight money laundering, including the financing of drugs, narcotics and illegal firearms, tax evasion and what is known as the black money economy, corruption, counterfeiting and other illegal problems, the Government should remove from circulation the current Trinidad and Tobago hundred dollar note,” Minister Young said in a Post Cabinet media briefing announcing the move.

Given the holiday rush, commercial banks have extended their opening hours to facilitate the exchange of notes ahead of the December 31 deadline, however, there was a lot of speculation on what would happen to those who were still in possession of old bills after January 1, 2020. On Tuesday, Central Bank issued a release indicating that it would offer a three-month redemption window after January 1, once it is “satisfied that the failure to present the notes prior to the appointed date resulted from circumstances beyond the control of the true owner of the notes”.

According to CBTT, the new bills are part of its Strategic Plan aimed at improving the durability of banknotes, increase capacity to protect against forgery and allow for easier recognition by the visually impaired. As it stands, the only other polymer note in circulation in Trinidad and Tobago is the $50 bill. The implementation of polymer notes will be expanded to the other denominations within the following year. For more information about the new bills, please visit Central Bank’s website: https://www.central-bank.org.tt/