Five Ways Barbados’ 2022 Banknotes are “Bajan to the Bone”

Author(s): Central Bank Of Barbados

Created 29 Nov, 2022
Tags CBB Blog Polymer Banknotes
Categories General Press Release
Views: 2503

When the Central Bank of Barbados began work on its new polymer series almost three years ago, it gave a clear instruction to the design team that in addition to being highly secure and attractive, the new notes had to be “Bajan to the bone.” The idea wasn’t a new one: since the Bank began issuing our national currency back in 1973, it has always made an effort for them to be identifiably Barbadian, but for the new series, the Bank kicked it up a notch.

Here are five ways, some carried over from previous iterations and some new to this series, that the 2022 banknotes are truly Barbadian.

The Iconic Barbadians Featured on the Front…

Portraits are a staple of banknotes the world over, and many countries and territories use them to honour national figures.

Barbados’ banknotes feature four national heroes (although they appeared on our notes long before being designated as such): the Right Excellent Charles Duncan O’Neal, a medical doctor who agitated for the rights of the underprivileged ($10); the Right Excellent Samuel Jackman Prescod, the first non-white to sit in the House of Assembly ($20); the Right Excellent Errol Barrow, father of our independence and Barbados’s first Prime Minister ($50); and the Right Excellent Sir Grantley Adams, our first premier and hero of our social revolution ($100).

Rounding out the six denominations are John Redman Bovell, an agronomist who is credited with rescuing Barbados’ sugar industry in the late 19th century ($2); and legendary West Indies cricketer and member of the world famous 3Ws, Sir Frank Worrell ($5).

How much do you know about the people featured on our notes? Learn more about them here.

…And the Related Images on the Back

While the portraits featured on Barbadian banknotes have largely remain unchanged since they were first issued (Samuel Jackman Prescod was replaced by Sir Frank Worrell on the $5 note in 1976), the images you see on the back are a more recent design choice – they were added in 2013.

These images not only represent different facets of our nation: the $2 and the $20 showcase historical landmarks – Morgan Lewis Windmill and the Parliament Buildings respectively, while the $5 and $100 capture somewhat newer locations, namely 3Ws Oval at the University of the West Indies and Grantley Adams International Airport. The final two notes, the $10 and $50 can be said to show a slice of Barbadian life in the form of Charles Duncan O’Neal Bridge, the popular Bridgetown thoroughfare, and Independence Square.

And notably, each location on the back is related to the person featured on the front. Do you know the connections?

An Abundance of Tridents

One of the most recognisable of Barbadian national symbols is the broken trident, so it’s no surprise that you’ll find it on local money. In fact, multiple broken tridents appear on each 2022 banknote.

There’s one on the top right corner of the front of the note. At first glance, you see only the intricate pattern within it, but when you hold the note up to light, the denomination appears. And if you look behind it, there are a multitude of tiny broken tridents.

There’s another broken trident is found on the left side. The image is large but incomplete, however when you line the notes up side-by-side, the full trident appears. And when you view the notes under UV light the trident glows brightly.

The final one is found near the centre of the note. It is actually invisible under normal circumstances, but appears under UV light.

The broken tridents on our notes aren’t just design elements; they’re security features.

Lines from the National Anthem

For the 2022 series, the Central Bank has added little snippets of the national anthem on each note. You’ll find them on the back, and the specific phrases vary by denomination. The $10, for example, carries the opening lines, “In plenty and in time of need, When this fair land was young”, while the $100 has the end of the chorus, “Strict guardians of our heritage, Firm craftsmen of our fate.

These lines, like the broken tridents, also function as security features as they fluoresce under UV light.

The Outline of the Map of Barbados

Newly added for the 2022 series is the outline of the map of Barbados. You won’t find it on each note, however. Rather, a section of the map can be found on each denomination, and when you put all six denominations together in two rows of three, the full outline appears. Under UV light, it is even more pronounced, with the outline transitioning from blue to yellow and then back to blue.

Not only is this a unique feature for a banknote series, but it, too, is a security feature. This is true even when the notes aren’t together, as the partial outline on each denomination is yet another UV feature that can be used to quickly authenticate banknotes.

Banknotes have long been viewed as cultural symbols unique to the country that issues them. That’s why numismatics (banknote and coin collecting), is a thriving practice. Indeed, people from as far afield as Australia and Switzerland buy our local banknotes for their collections. And for our citizens, they should be a point of national pride, which is why creating a series that is unquestionably and identifiably Barbadian was a priority for the Central Bank of Barbados.

Copyright 2023 by Central Bank of Barbados