Now that the exchange process has begun I’ve been watching, reading, listening and fighting the urge to comment. Just yesterday this was me to myself “self, do not post anything on this, you will offend people”. Five minutes later this was also me to myself “post something and whoever gets offended tell them suck-it-up-buttercup”.
Now I’m not going to get into the whole debate on the timeframe and the pain it’s causing the citizenry. Unlike a lot of Trinis apparently, I was proficient at reading comprehension in school (big up Tranquility Government Primary) so I understand why it’s being done in a hurry like this. No, I want to focus as usual on the comedic aspects of what’s taking place because Trinis can’t do anything in a normal orderly fashion. A situation like this is a gold mine for memes and jokes.
First off, the CBTT Governor said don’t rush the banks because they need time to organize, which to the average Trini translates to “rush the banks!” People lining up for hours just to change $200 and when they get the exact same amount of money they had before they posting pics of the new money on social media with hashtags like #ahgetthru #polymerislife #blessedandhighlyfavored
Apparently some people were worried the money would run out. Now I’m guessing that the Central Bank ordered the exact amount of 100 dollar bills in circulation, 80 million bills or $8 billion. So in a one-for-one exchange there’s no risk of them running out. However, let’s just say for argument sake the banks run out, I believe they can change your old 100 dollar notes into five 20s or ten 10s or twenty 5s or even…I think I think…one hundred 1s….but don’t quote me on that.
One of the gems I heard so far was that people were asking if they had to change the money that is already in their bank account too. Yeah…they walk amongst us.
Then there is the voice-note circulating where a lady is asking if they’re making any provisions for people who have no old hundreds, if they’re going put something in place to give them the new hundreds. Now this one has to be fake otherwise she is what we would refer to colloquially as “fully dunce”.
Every day we have at least one person living abroad asking what is their position if they can’t change their money before the Dec 31 deadline and every day we have to tell them to go by CBTT like “stick break in their ears or….”. I swear if zombies were walking around the country right now looking for brains to eat they would starve to death…they’d come back to life and then starve to death.
Everybody and they granny have some anansi story about how they end up with a Shabba Ranks trailer-load of cash. From who phoulourie stand open up last week and make a $900k to who sell $4m worth of Caraili last month. It’s like the couples on HGTV where one is an elementary school teacher, the other is a freelance tutor in playing the Recorder but their budget is US$3m.
The biggest surprise to me, apart from people thinking the banks will fall for their Lifetime channel stories, is the amount of unbanked people in the country. Although now it makes sense how a one room, wooden, 2×4 shack in the bush could burn down and the owner would be on the news crying that they lost $3m. The house was probably worth $50k but that mattress with the coconut husk filling was worth $2.95m.
Imagine, the rest of the world moving to digital currency but we here grappling with exchanging one physical bill for another of the exact same denomination worth the exact same amount. How we expect to diversify the economy if we can’t even diversify the bills in we wallet properly?
I feel I might go on a tour of the banks on Dec 31. Maybe I’ll walk with a cooler too because knowing Trinis it might be utter chaos like in front the stage for Soca Monarch although I might end up having to “pivot!” like Ross.