By Dr Marlene Attzs,
The shock, awe and palpitations associated with the change-out from the old $100 bills to the new, still ‘crispy’, polymer version of the ‘blues’ have somewhat subsided.
The genesis of the draconian change on the eve of the new decade came like a virtual thief in the night with the suggestion that it was an inconvenience the nation had to endure to treat with the clear and present danger posed by a significant amount of dirty money – obtained both via so-called underground activity and from ‘entrepreneurs’ who were printing their own bills.
One newspaper reported that $749 million ‘dirty blues’ were laundered shortly before the polymer blue made its local debut.
Barely had the announcement of the change-out been made, when the crowds descended on the commercial banks wanting to cash in on the new blues.
Caught in the new blue melee were scores of pensioners who, only the week before, had queued from early morning to collect their monthly payments.
Then there are the banking staff who literally overnight found themselves working extended banking hours to deal with sometimes irate customers clutching bags of old blues and demanding their quota of new blues.
Apparently, such customers either never heard of, or chose to ignore the Source of Funds Declaration Form and yes, there was a deadline by which one had to surrender the bags of old blues.
In the middle of all this drama was the ever-abundant, unsolicited Trinbago wisdom from many quarters. Persons who thought they should have been given notice that this blue inconvenience was coming.
My take is that there is no easy way to break an egg – change always is uncomfortable and at times inconvenient. There are however the small, seasonal vendors some of whom neither have bank accounts nor are able to leave their seasonal vending to change out old blues for new polymers.
It would be useful for measures to be put in place to facilitate such vendors, so they are able to meet the change-out deadline.
On the other side of the polymer note blues are the seasonal Christmas blues – the melancholic notes that some face this time of year – for one reason or another.
2020 is on the horizon, the dawn of a new decade. Let’s embrace that new decade with open minds and of course, the new blues.
That’s just my point of view.