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$$ note change causes frenzy across T&T

By Trinidad Guardian

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(TRINIDAD GUARDIAN) – A mad rush across the coun­try yes­ter­day as cit­i­zens de­fied the ad­vice of the Cen­tral Bank Gov­er­nor Alvin Hi­laire and rushed to banks across the coun­try to change their old hun­dred dol­lar bills to the new Poly­mer hun­dred dol­lar note.

The mad fren­zy saw lines snaking around cor­ners in Port of Spain and San Fer­nan­do caus­ing both hu­man and ve­hic­u­lar traf­fic as cu­ri­ous mo­torists slowed down. The Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) con­firmed it had in­creased mo­bile and foot pa­trols in the vicin­i­ty of bank­ing lo­ca­tions for the pro­tec­tion of cit­i­zens who went to change their notes.

As Day One of the re­lease of the new poly­mer $100 bill be­gan yes­ter­day, thou­sands of ea­ger cit­i­zens crowd­ed the na­tion’s bank, stand­ing in line from as ear­ly as 7 am.

From Princes Town to Port of Spain, they clutched their hand­bags close and wait­ed. When the var­i­ous fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions opened their doors at 8 am, the chaos be­gan- with every­one rush­ing to get in first- al­most as though the new bills were be­ing hand­ed out for free.

But the en­thu­si­asm was not catch­ing for every­one as many peo­ple com­plained that they were un­able to con­duct busi­ness un­re­lat­ed to the new bill as the banks were too crowd­ed.

Port-of-Spain

Rush­ton Cok­er, who vis­it­ed the Mur­ray Street, Port of Spain branch of Re­pub­lic Bank to con­duct busi­ness on be­half of the com­pa­ny he is em­ployed with, ques­tioned why peo­ple were rush­ing to get their bills changed.

“There are very long lines, I don’t know what peo­ple rush­ing for re­al­ly, they have a cer­tain date to use out the old bills,” Cok­er said.

Ger­ard Snag­gs, who vis­it­ed the branch just to see what the fuss was about, said he an­tic­i­pates a lot of prob­lems in the com­ing weeks with the change of the notes.

“I just went to macko, I see the long lines so I turned back but I asked about it. If you watch the line is filled to by the door, look at peo­ple, to change this cur­ren­cy is go­ing to be a prob­lem,” Snag­gs said.

He said he does not think the change over will be com­plet­ed by the De­cem­ber 31st dead­line.

An­oth­er cus­tomer, Melis­sa John­son-Moore, was al­so de­terred by the long lines and tried her luck at the ATM in­stead, with­draw­ing one $100 bill to see if she would get the new poly­mer note.

But she was dis­ap­point­ed al­though she vowed to re­turn again to­day (Wednes­day) to try her luck again.

“I tried but it was the same old, same old, they said they were go­ing to put it in the banks yes­ter­day and to­day the banks have mil­lions of lines, you can’t get to the counter to even make a de­posit. I went to the ATM and still got the old $100, I was hop­ing I would get to do a lil’ Whats app post, with the new hun­dred, but it didn’t work out,” she said.

San Fer­nan­do

In South Trinidad the sit­u­a­tion was the same. Even as they stood in the rain wait­ing to change their $100 bills at the First Cit­i­zens Bank in Princes Town, bank­ing clients yes­ter­day ex­pressed con­cern that the T&T Po­lice Ser­vice was not pro­vid­ing enough se­cu­ri­ty for them.

Along High Street, scores of peo­ple gath­ered in the rain and ex­pressed con­cerns about the lack of se­cu­ri­ty at the lo­ca­tion. Even though the Princes Town Po­lice sta­tion is lo­cat­ed a short dis­tance, not a sin­gle po­lice of­fi­cer was sta­tioned near the bank when Guardian Me­dia vis­it­ed around 10 am.

One cus­tomer Micheal Green said he want­ed a bet­ter se­cu­ri­ty pres­ence at all banks.

“I am very con­cerned be­cause every­one stand­ing there have no se­cu­ri­ty and every­body has a bag of mon­ey. The rain is falling and if some­body comes now, snatch my bag and run now, what will I do? No po­lice in the place.”

An­oth­er cus­tomer said she want­ed bet­ter po­lice pa­trols around the banks.”I am not afraid but I am con­cerned about the lack of se­cu­ri­ty here,” she added.

Many of the cus­tomers said they did not want to be pho­tographed in case they are tar­get­ed by crim­i­nals. Along High Street, San Fer­nan­do just af­ter 9 am, lines in­side the bank were un­usu­al­ly long.

TECU Cred­it Union Co-op­er­a­tive So­ci­ety Lim­it­ed, at South­ern Main Road, Mara­bel­la, was al­so jam-packed with cus­tomers.

Af­ter mid­day yes­ter­day, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith is­sued a state­ment say­ing po­lice mo­bile and foot pa­trols were boost­ed around the banks and oth­er fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions.

Po­lice pa­trols in­crease

Grif­fith said Emer­gency Re­sponse, Task Force and Di­vi­sion­al Pa­trols were tak­ing place across the nine polic­ing di­vi­sions, to pro­vide greater lev­els of safe­ty and com­fort, as peo­ple go about trans­act­ing their busi­ness at com­mer­cial banks.

Say­ing he was aware that crim­i­nal el­e­ments may want to tar­get un­sus­pect­ing per­sons in the lines at banks, and he is giv­ing an as­sur­ance that po­lice of­fi­cers are out in full force to safe­guard mem­bers of the pub­lic, as they go about trans­act­ing their busi­ness at var­i­ous com­mer­cial banks.

Grif­fith said, “The TTPS is aware that crim­i­nal el­e­ments may want to tar­get un­sus­pect­ing per­sons in the lines at banks,” and that po­lice of­fi­cers are out in full force to safe­guard mem­bers of the pub­lic, as they go about trans­act­ing their busi­ness.

In a re­lat­ed mat­ter, quick work by of­fi­cers of the Four Roads Po­lice Sta­tion, Diego Mar­tin re­sult­ed in the ar­rest of a 19-year-old man of La Re­source Road, Laven­tille, min­utes af­ter her robbed a woman who was on her way to the bank.

The vic­tim told po­lice she was walk­ing along the walkover of the Diego Mar­tin high­way around 11:15 am, when the man grabbed her bag which con­tained a quan­ti­ty of cash be­fore he fled on foot, along Cuth­bert Cir­cu­lar.

A re­port was made and of­fi­cers on pa­trol sub­se­quent­ly ap­pre­hend­ed the sus­pect a short dis­tance away.

The bag with the cash was al­so re­cov­ered from his pos­ses­sion.

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

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