Finance Minister Colm Imbert is seeking legal advice on whether merchants can refuse to take old $100 notes before they are demonetised on December 31, 2019.
He made the announcement during response to an urgent question in the Senate on Tuesday as long lines were witnessed at banks across Trinidad with customers wanting to cash in their $100 bills for the new polymer $100 that came into circulation on Monday.
Imbert said, “I am being advised and I think I will receive proper legal advice later in the afternoon. I have sought the advice of two senior counsel.”
Imbert said it was legal for the old bill to be used in the interim.
He said his ministry was in discussions with the Central Bank on whether merchants could be able to deposit their old bills closer to the deadline date to reduce the anxiety attached to accepting them during transactions.
Imbert noted, “The existing $100 bill, the cloth paper note is legal tender and will be legal tender until December 31. The issue is whether in a private transaction between a private company and a person, whether you can compel somebody to take a particular note.”