Barbados’ disabled community is welcoming the island’s new banknotes with open arms.
Each of the six bank notes due to be released on June 4 will carry new tactile marks to aid the blind, while the brighter colours will also aid the visually impaired, new Barbados Council for the Disabled President Senator Kerryann Ifill was happy to hear.
Her organisation was among the interest groups the Central Bank of Barbados consulted in the last three years as it engaged currency printer De La Rue to produce the new bills.
“We got together groups of visually impaired persons and we went over other ideas of notes to see what they felt like and this morning we were able to touch those new notes,” Ifill said after the bills were officially unveiled this morning at the Grande Salle, Tom Adams Financial Centre.
“These notes are definitely an improvement. You can have no idea how disconcerting it is to think you are handing somebody a 20 and they tell you ‘well that’s only a two’. Of course sometimes you think that person is being unscrupulous in telling you it’s a two so you will give them more money.
“It gives us back a sense of independence, a sense of freedom and it makes us know that people are really considering our needs. So while they are not perfect, they are not totally tactile; at least we know that you are thinking of us, you have included us, and over time we are sure that there will be even greater improvements,” she added.
The Central Bank explained that the tactile marks on the new notes were intended to “help the visually impaired and blind identify the denomination of their notes”.
“These dots are located on the top left of each note. The lowest denomination, the $2, has one dot, the $5 has two, the $10 has three, the $20 has four, the $50 has five and the $100 has six dots,” the financial institution said.
“In addition, while we have maintained the colours of the notes, we have increased the density of the colours and added more contrast between the $2 and the $100 to make it easier for the partially sighted to distinguish between these two denominations,” it added.
The new banknotes are being launched as the bank celebrates its 41 anniversary, and De La Rue Sales Director Ruth Euling announced in recognition of this and her company’s 200th anniversary it would be fully funding an annual scholarship programme with the Department of Economics at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus.
“This scholarship is pledged in the honor of our very longstanding relationship with the Central Bank of Barbados and in support of their vision of social development, progress and growth for Barbados,” she said. (SC)