At least two local groups have welcomed the new series of banknotes unveiled by the Central Bank of Barbados on Wednesday.
President of the Barbados Association of Retailers, Vendors and Entrepreneurs (BARVEN, Allister Alexander and Mark A Haynes, Communication, Information and Marketing Officer of the Alliance Owners of Public Transport (AOPT), said they were pleased with the enhanced security features and the look of the banknotes that are to go into circulation in early December.
They told Barbados TODAY they did not believe the new series of banknotes would deter them from pursuing greater use of digital payment systems.
Over the past two years micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) have been encouraged to employ greater use of digital payment systems in order to remain competitive, as Government pushes for a national digital transformation.
Haynes said he believed cash will continue to be king even as he anticipated an increase in the use of digital currencies.
He said while it was still early days to determine if the new banknotes would put a damper on the drive towards use of digital payment systems, he believed privately-owned public service vehicle (PSV) operators were not opposed to making the switch to digital payments completely.
“Digital has its place in this new environment. Let us face reality, we are moving forward and we have to change the way we are doing things and many people are going digital. So that too is a step in the right direction, but when that time comes we will deal with it. If it were to come I don’t see a difficulty with it,” he said.
Haynes said he was impressed with the new design of the polymer banknotes, which feature individuals in a vertical format rather than the landscape of the existing paper currency.
“It is an initiative which I applaud and the PSV fraternity supports. We all are just looking forward to it being rolled out,” said Haynes.
Alexander said BARVEN was also looking forward to the education and sensitisation initiatives ahead of the new series of banknotes going into circulation at the end of the year.
Welcoming the enhanced security features, Alexander told Barbados TODAY the incidents of BARVEN members coming into contact with counterfeit currency were few.
“As was said, you will not have a zero situation where there is no counterfeit at all, but vendors are generally very careful in handling money, there are some who have apparatus to detect counterfeit money but generally we handle it . . . We don’t have a high incidence of counterfeit currency circulated in Barbados,” he explained.
Alexander said he did not believe vendors and other entrepreneurs were concerned that the introduction of new banknotes would slow the process of them employing digital payment systems as they seek to modernise their operations and serve a more global clientele.
Alexander was especially impressed with the design of the new banknotes, adding that it brought back memories of when Barbados first instituted its own currency in 1973.
“I am very impressed. It has even features of the national anthem on it. Those are things that speak to the soul of a people,” he said.