There were long lines earlier this week outside the Central Bank in Port of Spain as people with extenuating circumstances tried to redeem their old $100 notes for the new polymer notes
There is an extended deadline for people wishing to exchange up to $1,000 who were hospitalised, incapacitated, out of the country or unable for legal or other demonstrably serious reasons to deposit or exchange their old cotton notes for the new ones before the December deadline at commercial banks. They must now do at the Central Bank.
When Newsday visited the bank Wednesday afternoon the line was almost to the entrance. “I only have one hour lunch. Look at people line up,” one woman commented. “I just want to change this $100 bill. I see this long line!” another woman said. A man said that he had just $300 to change and found the line to be too long.
“I don’t understand this thing.” A woman who had successfully changed her notes said she had arrived at 9 am (it was 1.54 pm at the time she was interviewed) and she had to wait in line for hours and then go through another long procedure inside. Another woman said it took almost three hours to change her notes.
“It is long and crazy.” She said despite providing documents showing she was out of the country she still had a long wait. She also said it would have been helpful if people were told in the line what additional documents they would need and not wait until they reach inside. A man who was with her said she was in the wrong line and asked that the particular lines be more clearly marked.
Central Bank workers were moving through the line handing out exchange forms and speaking with people. One lady took a seat on side of the plant enclosure. “I eh tired but I relaxing,” she said.
Another woman asked if there was a cut off time and was told that once she was in the line she would be accommodated. The worker stressed that it is a one time transaction only and people have attempted to return to change money again but were not allowed.
“We have their names on the database,” the worker said. The deadline for all citizens to change the notes was December 31.