New $50 bill – it’s out
By Sasha Harrinanan Saturday, August 4 2012
“Finally” and “ooh” were some of the comments people made yesterday upon getting to see and touch the new $50 note for the first time.
Republic Bank’s Independence Square, Port-of-Spain branch was the only confirmed location where one could exchange/withdraw money to get the olive green $50.
The commemorative edition, featuring the words “Celebrating 50 years of Independence 1962 — 2012” printed in red ink on the outside of the coat of arms on the front of the $50, was not available when enquiries were made at the branch early yesterday afternoon.
One teller told Newsday, “I have only regular $50 bills. I’m not sure when we’ll be getting the commemorative ones.”
Even if you can only get the regular $50 bill at this time, it may be considered a collector’s item by some, because it was signed by the previous Central Bank Governor, Ewart Williams, who demitted office two weeks ago – July 16.
Asked about the level of demand for the new note, the same teller revealed several customers had requested to see the $50, but were reluctant to actually take it. “They have to spend their money, and some of the customers said they were afraid merchants would not accept the new bill, in case it was counterfeit.
Others wanted it as a keepsake, but knew they’d have to ‘break’ the $50 to pay bills now, so they decided to hold off on taking any $50,” the teller said.
A similar level of interest was reported by tellers at Scotiabank TT’s Independence Square branch.
“Ever since the Central Bank made the announcement in June,” one teller recalled, “people have been asking us when they could get a $50.
It’s worse now because the public was told the note would be available at the start of this month. People were excited to see this $50 in-person.”
Although the Central Bank on Thursday delivered $50 notes to all four major banks — Scotiabank TT, Republic Bank, First Citizens and RBC Royal Bank, processing and delivery of the money to their various branches, would take some time. Scotiabank’s Managing Director, Richard Young, yesterday said the $50 would most likely be available at all of the bank’s branches “next week Tuesday.”
As noted earlier, checks at the other banks’ branches nationwide yesterday indicated Republic Bank’s Independence Square branch was the only location from which to get one’s hands on the $50.
Now that it is finally in circulation, visually-impaired persons would have to get accustomed to dealing with a sixth bill.
The TT Blind Welfare Association had raised concerns about this, but the visually-impaired community was given assurances last month that tactile features had been included in the design of the newest note to aid them in identifying it.
There are three main tactile features on the front of the olive green $50 note — six tactile bars each on the top left and right sides, a holographic square on the right side and enlarged, raised numerals “50”on the lower right and left corners of the note.
Speaking at a “Know Your Money” seminar held at the Central Bank on Independence Square, PoS on July 4 last, the bank’s Senior Manager of Operations, Alister Noel said, “we have something scheduled for next year (2013), it’s just a matter of managing inventory. It’s our intention that next year people would see tactile features...similar to those in the $50 note in our other currency, but I can’t say exactly when that will be.”