By Latonya Linton
KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – The new series of polymer Jamaican banknotes was officially released to the public today and can be obtained from the Bank of Jamaica and commercial banks.
The series comprises upgraded $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 notes, and the newly introduced $2,000 bill.
In a series of posts on Twitter, minister of finance and the public service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said this is only the second time in Jamaica’s history that an entirely new series of banknotes is being issued.
“The last time was at the dawn of our Independent nation in the 1960s. Technological advances have introduced new polymer substrates that allow for durability of banknotes, substantially lowering costs over the life of the note. Increased durability will mean longer average circulation life of our banknotes, which, in turn, will reduce reorder frequencies and quantities,” he pointed out.
The $50 note features National Heroes, the Right Excellent Paul Bogle and the Right Excellent George William Gordon, while Jamaica’s first National Hero, the Right Excellent Marcus Mosiah Garvey, appears on the $100 bill.
National Heroes, the Right Excellent Samuel Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons, grace the $500 note, while National Heroes, the Right Excellent Sir Alexander Bustamante, post-Independent Jamaica’s first prime minister, and the Right Excellent Norman Manley, are featured on the $1,000 denomination.
Two former prime ministers, Edward Seaga, and Michael Manley are highlighted on the $2,000 bill.
Another two former prime ministers, Sir Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer, appear on the $5,000 note.
Dr Clarke pointed out that the government has “used the opportunity to restore our National Heroes to our banknotes, consistent with the original practice and intent”.
“It is only the experience of chronic macroeconomic instability, inclusive of devaluation of 50,000 percent over 40 years, that removed them,” he added. Jamaica joins several other countries whose currencies have been upgraded to polymer substrate.
Dr Clarke advised that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which is the monetary authority for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, upgraded its notes between 2019 and 2021.
Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados also upgraded their family of banknotes over the last few years, while Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, United Kingdom and 25 other countries also use the new polymer substrate.