THE Central Bank anticipates the transition from cotton to polymer notes should be complete by January 1, 2022.
This was reflected in a statement issued by the bank announcing that from that date, banknotes in denominations of $1, $5, $10, $20 and $50 bearing series dates before 2020 will cease to be legal tender.
The announcement was made in a notice published in the June 3 edition of the Trinidad and Tobago Gazette, signed by Finance Minister Colm Imbert and Central Bank Governor Alvin Hilaire.
After saying it is in the final phases of its change from cotton to polymer notes, the bank said, "Since earlier this year, polymer notes of all denominations are in circulation, alongside the cotton notes, as legal tender in TT. This will continue for the rest of this year."
The bank said the withdrawn notes will be exchanged indefinitely after January 1, 2022.
In a separate statement, the Finance Ministry supported the bank's position that the old banknotes remain valid up to the end of this year and can be redeemed indefinitely , either directly by the Central Bank or in arrangements with the commercial banks.
In response to questions from Newsday as to whether the Central Bank believes it will be possible for people to come in person to the bank to redeem the old banknotes in January, in light of the covid19 pandemic, the bank said, "We will work to facilitate exchanges where people have difficulty in coming to our office. We are working on expanding our FAQs (frequently asked questions) currently on the website to address questions that the public might have."
The transition from cotton to polymer notes began in 2019, with paper-based $100 bills being replaced with polymer notes.