The pronouncement last week of the proposed change of the current $100 bill to a polymer note continues to make headlines. What further stirred debate, concern and trepidation was the announcement that it needed to be done by a December 31 deadline, causing citizens to grapple with the fact that time is against them.
While the reasons for the implementation of the new polymer note are clear to a point, we strongly believe that the timing could not have been worse. The Christmas period is undoubtedly the busiest time of the year, and high time for criminal activity. Normal circumstances require extra vigilance during this festive season, let alone one where persons are required to carry potentially large amounts of cash to the bank before it turns into mere paper. Walking targets for the criminal element – and it is as scary as it sounds.
Further to this, we are forced to ask: does the Government really think that this latest measure will negate the criminal elements that are hoarding large sums of illegal cash? The same characters that have all the right connections in the right places? Authorities need to stop underestimating the intelligence of our criminal element. We will not be surprised if evidence that the new bill being hoarded makes its way to social media when its usage becomes mainstream.
We’ve seen reports of businesses stating that they will no longer be accepting the soon-to-be-archaic hundred dollar bills, in an effort to distance themselves from the responsibility of having to convert it themselves. While we do understand the predicament of these business owners, is this even legal? Has the state really thought through the process, with special consideration for legal businesses? If businesses are truly not accepting the current bill, then there is sure to be further pressure and mayhem with this move that already seems chaotic.
Can it be done? Can the new polymer note seamlessly replace the current hundred dollar bill in exactly three weeks time? Based on this country’s track record in getting things done, we won’t hold our breaths. It’s been several years and at least 2 extensions, and still we haven’t had all vehicles inspected. Millions have been spent and we still can’t seem to fix the problems with immigration and car park payments at the airport, especially with what seems like outdated systems. And neither could we, even though we have been trying for decades, fix the problems that exist with our licensing department. How then do we fix this problem by December 31st?