Paper Money

Bank of Jamaica to release new series of six bank notes

The Bank of Jamaica is introducing a totally new series of six bank notes in the last quarter of this year that will include a $2,000 denomination for the first time. The new notes are displayed in a poster revealed by the bank.

Original images courtesy of the Bank of Jamaica.

The Bank of Jamaica is introducing a totally new series of six bank notes in the last quarter of this year that will include a $2,000 denomination for the first time.

The announcement was made to Parliament on March 8, followed by a Bank of Jamaica press release on March 10. The images of the new series differ substantially in appearance from the old and were presented on a poster bearing the logos of the Bank of Jamaica and bank note printer De La Rue.

The $2,000 note is being added to make cash transactions easier. The bank says that current reliance on the $1,000 note, worth $6.53 in U.S. funds, is excessive. The expectation is that the $2,000 note will efficiently substitute for $1,000 notes, as fewer individual notes will be needed in cash transactions. This will also result in lower costs for the bank, as the cost of printing is the same for each note, according to the bank.

Other objectives for the new notes are enhancing security to combat counterfeiting; better satisfying the needs of the visually impaired by changing the substrate to polymer so tactile features are not as susceptible to degradation with use; ensuring a clear distinction between the denominations by using distinct colors for each; and providing cost savings to the bank by printing on longer-lasting polymer. The bank projects that use of polymer will increase the average circulation life of the notes by at least 50%, resulting in lower order quantities and less frequent orders, according to the bank. Also, the bank said, arrangements are being made so that, when the notes need to be destroyed, disposal of the polymer waste will not compromise the environment.

Fair trading principles are another objective. Despite the obvious involvement of De La Rue, the bank says that all the note’s features are readily available in the bank note manufacturing market. This, the bank says, prevents it “from locking itself into a situation whereby only one printer is able to provide a particular feature on any denomination. This is critical to allow for flexibility in respect of the choice of printer, thereby ensuring full competition and ensuring that the Bank gets the best value for money.”

The subjects on the faces of the notes are all national heroes and deceased prime ministers. The current bank notes feature only two of the seven designated as national heroes and three of four deceased prime ministers. To represent all 11 eligible people, each denomination except one will feature two people, paired according to their contributions to Jamaica in the categories of: Freedom Fighters; Black Empowerment/Pan Africanist; and Fathers of the Nation and Nation Builders. Marcus Garvey, who was previously on a 50-cent note, will appear as a single subject on the $100 note, given his status as Jamaica’s first “National Hero.” No person will be “downgraded” to a lesser value denomination than where they now appear.

The $50 note will have national heroes Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, who were on Jamaica’s original bank notes, but are on none now. The $500 note will portray 18th and 19th century rebellion leaders Nanny of the Maroons and Sam Sharpe. The $1,000 note will show Prime Minister Sir Alexander Bustamante and Premier Norman Manley, who were on Jamaica’s original bank notes. Political contemporaries and foes Michael Manley and Edward Seaga will be on the new $2,000 note, and former prime ministers Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer will be on the $5,000 note.

The backs of the notes will continue to feature Jamaican images that exist on the current issue. The new $2,000 note will have the photograph of a group of children from the Central Branch Primary School (circa 1968) that was previously on the back of the now demonetized $2 note of 1969 to 1994.

Jamaican social media is already registering complaints that Bob Marley and Usain Bolt are not among the honorees.

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