The Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), has asserted that the Eastern Caribbean is strong.
Doctor Timothy Antoine made the assertion in Grenada during the launch of EC polymer notes.
“I hereby confirm that our EC dollar is strong. As of Friday, 24 May 2019, the backing ratio was 98.4 per cent. More importantly, our foreign reserves continue to grow and now total US$1.75 billion,” Antoine stated.
“As we celebrate the strength of our currency, let me be very clear. The ultimate defense for our strong EC dollar is our production,” the ECCB Governor explained.
He said it is through the production of goods and especially services, increasingly higher up the value chain, that the sub-region will earn its way in the world.
Antoine said this will enhance capacity to finance and determine the sub-region’s development scope and trajectory; reduce public debt and deliver shared prosperity for the citizens of the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU).
Explaining the rationale behind the move from paper to polymer currency notes, the ECCB Governor stated that simply put, it was to enhance the security and usability of EC notes.
“To maintain trust and to stay ahead of counterfeiters, our Central Bank has a duty of care, indeed an obligation, to continually upgrade our notes. But our motivation is also personal,” he declared.
“On several occasions, I have had fishermen and vendors lament to me, their inability to get value for their notes after they were soiled or torn. These stories have affected me. I have asked myself how can our Central Bank help ensure that these hardworking folks get full value for their hard-earned money? I believe polymer will greatly ease this hardship,” Antoine observed.
He said compared to paper notes, polymer notes are cleaner and resistant to dirt and moisture; more secure in having advanced security features that make them hard to counterfeit; more durable in that they last three times longer and are more environmentally friendly.
The ECCB Governor disclosed that as part of its due diligence, the ECCB consulted with colleagues from the Bank of England, the Bank of Scotland and the Bank of Canada on their experiences with changing from paper to polymer.
At the launch of the polymer notes, the ECCB unveiled the first note in the EC family of notes – the EC$50.
The new note bears the image of late ECCB Governor, the Honourable Sir K Dwight Venner.