Chaos at the Unit Trust Corporation (UTC) Tobago branch on Monday, as persons wishing to exchange the old $100 cotton bills, for the new polymer notes were faced with long lines spilling onto the pavement.
Minority Leader of the Tobago House of Assembly Watson Duke, who visited the bank to intervene on behalf of the customers, described the situation as “evil.”
Customers complained about a lack of communication from Central Bank’s representatives.
They were upset that the January 14 date allowed them to apply only for the funds.
The application required the submission of the due diligence forms, photocopies of valid identification and all relevant documents supporting customers’ inability to convert the $100 cotton notes before December 31, 2019 deadline.
The customers were told once their applications are approved, the new notes would be given to them on January 17, at the same venue.
Some customers also expressed concerns about the limited time allotted to facilitate the exchange in Tobago.
Meanwhile, Duke, whose official THA office is located across the road from the UTC, said he is saddened by the lack of attention given to Tobagonians.
Late last year, Duke advocated for a Central Bank presence in Tobago to facilitate the $100 bill exchange.
“It is evil to have Tobagonians standing in the hot sun and on the inside there is no seating accommodation, they have to fill out forms on their backs.”
He called on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to treat Tobagonians with more dignity by extending the exchange period.
A press release from the Central Bank last Friday said the bank may return to Tobago after January 17.
“ The bank will continue to monitor the response and will keep the public informed of any further arrangements,” the release said.
The bank made arrangements to facilitate the exchange of the old notes beyond the December 31, 2019 deadline at UTC Tobago on two additional days, January 14, and January 17, 2020.
Customers in Trinidad have until March 31, 2020.
Reporter: Loyse Vincent