The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is releasing updated EC dollar banknotes this year and Montserrat should expect to see them in local circulation by June 2019.
According to Angela Estwick, ECCB Representative for Montserrat, the new banknotes will be released on a phased approach.
The new banknotes will be made from polymer and introduces new features to make them more secure but also user friendly to the visually impaired.
Rosbert Humphrey, the Acting Director of the Currency Management Department at the ECCB was on island last week along with Shermalon Kirby, Adviser for the Corporate Relations Department to introduce the new banknotes to the financial and business sector.
Humphrey said the first note to go into circulation will be the $50 in June 2019. The sequence is based on the availability of the paper currency still in stock. Next will be the $100, $20 and $10 in August/September of this year and the $5 in 2010.
The ECCB official said the polymer notes and the current paper notes will co-circulate.
The ECCB is the first Central Bank in the Caribbean to issue an entire family of banknotes in polymer. Trinidad & Tobago issued a polymer $50 commemorative circulation note in 2014.
Polymer banknotes are produced from a thin, transparent and flexible plastic film made from polypropylene.
Key benefits, according to officials is that they will be more difficult to counterfeit, resistant to water and other liquids, more resistant to dirt and moisture, durable and difficult to tear, and eco-friendly.
Changes have been made to the design of the notes. They are now oriented horizontally (portrait) rather than in landscape. The image of the Government House in Plymouth, Montserrat remains on the $20 note.
There is also a new tactile feature for the visually-impaired in the top left corner of the note. Each value has a different shape to make them easier to identify. There is a see-through window with a fuschia flower in each note.
The $50 is a completely new design. It now features the image of the late ECCB Governor Sir K Dwight Venner.
The new ECCB Governor Timothy N.J. Antoine’s signature will be on the new polymer notes.