The Bank of Jamaica (BoJ) officially launched its special series of 50th anniversary commemorative banknotes Wednesday June 19, in celebration of the country’s Golden Jubilee.
Minister of Finance and Planning, Dr. the Hon. Peter Phillips, who spoke at the event, said the notes are not only being launched to celebrate the 50th year of Jamaica’s political independence, but “we are also witnessing the launch of a new generation of banknotes.
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These banknotes are not just decorated pieces of paper, but are important payment instruments that also symbolise our sovereignty, our nationhood, the natural diversity of our country and our people, and our journey as an independent country."
Dr. Phillips said Jamaica's currency is important because of the special role it plays in facilitating economic activity. “This is particularly important in a country such as ours, where a high percentage of our population still use cash as the principal form of payment to transact business,” he noted.
Meanwhile, in introducing the notes, BoJ Governor, Brian Wynter, said the bank has been issuing commemorative banknotes since 1973, when it issued a $2.00 note in commemoration of 25 years of the universal declaration of human rights. He also pointed out that in October 2010; a $50 note was issued to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Bank of Jamaica Act.
“The 2012 commemorative banknote series consist of five denominations – $5,000, $1,000, $500, $100, and the $50 note, with modifications to their original design. The modified design includes the Jamaica 50 logo superimposed on the watermark on the front of each note,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the unique image, which is normally on the reverse side of each note, has been replaced by a photograph of a group of children from Central Branch Primary School, from 1962. “That serves to depict the national motto, out of many one people. It formally appeared on the back of the $2.00 note, which was in circulation from 1969 to 1994,” Mr. Wynter said.
He added that the integrity of the commemorative banknotes has been protected, as the security features are the same as those on the regular banknotes. The new notes will circulate alongside the old notes, and both series are legal tender. “We expect the public to accept them with the same level of confidence that is associated with the regular banknotes,” the Governor said.
Minister of Youth and Culture, Hon. Lisa Hanna, who also participated in the occasion, expressed gratitude to all stakeholders involved in the production of the notes.
“It is a cause for celebration, because people are able to keep something as a part of this year. I’m sure many of you remember when we did not have an independent currency, so today we can stand tall and proud fifty years later to commemorate our own currency,” she said.
By Alphea Saunders, JIS Senior Reporter