Paper Money

Trinidad and Tobago completes switch to polymer notes

The Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago has completed the transition from paper to polymer for its bank notes.

Image courtesy of Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago.

Now that the Central Bank of Trinidad and Tobago has completed the switch from cotton paper to polymer, it says it will demonetize all old paper bank notes in the denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 effective on Jan. 1, 2022.

The two types will simultaneously circulate until then.

The $100 note was stripped of its legal tender value in a surprise demonetization December 2019, in what was said to be a successful attempt to address financial crimes such as tax evasion and money laundering. Over 5% of the $100 bills outstanding were not presented for exchange, although the bank does not suggest that the entire amount still outstanding was “black money.”

While the paper notes will cease to be legal tender for cash payment within Trinidad and Tobago, the bank will continue to redeem them indefinitely for their full face value.

The new notes are, for the most part, similar to the old ones. The face of each has the Trinidad and Tobago coat of arms in the center, with the national flag above a numerical designation of the denomination at the right and a native bird at the left — a scarlet ibis is on the $1 note, the blue-crowned mot mot on the $5 note, the cocrico on the $10 note, a hummingbird on the $20 note, the red-capped cardinal on the $50 note, and the bird of paradise on the $100 note. Their colors are red, green, gray, purple, olive green, and blue. The olive green replaces gold on the new $50 note.

The backs all have the twin towers on Independence Square in Port of Spain, but relocated to the left from the center. The $1 note replaces the Pointe-a-Pierre oil refinery with the Red House, the seat of Parliament. The $5 note has a view of people shopping at a produce market. A port scene is on the $10, while the $20 and $50 note backs are modified with the addition of the same birds that are on the face of each.

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