New banknotes available
The new series of polymer Jamaican banknotes was officially released to the public on Thursday and can be obtained from the Bank of Jamaica and commercial banks.
The series comprises upgraded $50, $100, $500, $1,000 and $5,000 notes, and the newly introduced $2,000 bill. In a series of posts on Twitter, Minister of Finance and the Public Service, Dr Nigel Clarke, said this is only the second time in Jamaica's history that an entirely new series of banknotes is being issued.
"The last time was at the dawn of our independent nation in the 1960s. Technological advances have introduced new polymer substrates that allow for durability of banknotes, substantially lowering costs over the life of the note. Increased durability will mean longer average circulation life of our banknotes, which, in turn, will reduce reorder frequencies and quantities," he said.
The $50 note features national heroes Paul Bogle and George William Gordon, while Jamaica's first national hero, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, appears on the $100 bill. National heroes Samuel Sharpe and Nanny of the Maroons grace the $500 note, while national heroes Sir Alexander Bustamante, post-Independent Jamaica's first prime minister, and Norman Manley are featured on the $1,000 denomination.
Two former prime ministers (PMs), Edward Seaga and Michael Manley are highlighted on the $2,000 bill. Another two former PMs, Sir Donald Sangster and Hugh Shearer, appear on the $5,000 note.
Jamaica joins several other countries whose currencies have been upgraded to polymer substrate. Clarke advised that the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank, which is the monetary authority for Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, and St Vincent and the Grenadines, upgraded its notes between 2019 and 2021.
Trinidad and Tobago and Barbados also upgraded their family of banknotes over the last few years, while Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, Scotland, United Kingdom and 25 other countries also use the new polymer substrate.