Money change...TTARP: Our members could become targets

Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 16:45

Mem­bers of the T&T As­so­ci­a­tion of Re­tired Per­sons Ltd (TTARP) are con­cerned about the dead­line of De­cem­ber 31, which has been giv­en for all per­sons to change over from the old $100 bill to the new poly­mer note.


Fol­low­ing re­ports of long lines at com­mer­cial banks yes­ter­day as per­sons rushed to change their mon­ey, Ge­of­frey Lewis. a mem­ber of TTARP, ques­tioned if and what con­ces­sions were be­ing made for el­der­ly per­sons 50 years and over.

Voic­ing alarm that their mem­bers formed part of the vul­ner­a­ble groups in so­ci­ety and were now be­ing made tar­gets as this change is be­ing im­ple­ment­ed, Lewis said, “If a se­nior has a size­able sum in their pos­ses­sion now, there’s a rea­son why they didn’t have it in the bank such as the con­ve­nience it af­fords them.”

He said some peo­ple al­so feel more se­cure hav­ing their mon­ey at home.

Lewis said, “If I go in­to the bank to change $9,000, then it means that I will be leav­ing the bank with the equiv­a­lent amount in the new notes. We now have to think about peo­ple who will be scop­ing out banks and the old peo­ple com­ing and go­ing in­to the banks.”

Lewis is al­so ask­ing that wash­room fa­cil­i­ties and ad­e­quate seat­ing ac­com­mo­da­tions be put in place for el­der­ly per­sons us­ing canes, crutch­es, walk­ers and wheel­chairs who will need spe­cial as­sis­tance, and ques­tioned if such mea­sures were in place to en­sure they had a prob­lem-free bank­ing ex­pe­ri­ence.

Ad­di­tion­al­ly, he ques­tioned, “There are peo­ple who have gone away, per­haps for the next three months to spend time with their fam­i­ly abroad…what is go­ing to hap­pen to them? Will they re­turn to be told that their mon­ey is no longer valid?”

Call­ing for an ex­ten­sion of the dead­line for these per­sons, Lewis said, “If the dead­line is De­cem­ber, it should be a lot eas­i­er come Jan­u­ary, to go and do this.”

Re­fer­ring to the an­nounce­ment by Na­tion­al Se­cu­ri­ty Min­is­ter Stu­art Young last week Thurs­day that the changes formed part of Gov­ern­ment’s thrust to stem cor­rup­tion and clamp down on what they termed the black econ­o­my - Lewis said, “This is some­thing that would have tak­en place quite a while ago be­cause there is no way how many con­tain­ers of mon­ey was go­ing to reach down in two days from Eng­land, and it al­so had to be print­ed so that would have tak­en a while.”

Lewis said it was un­clear how much think­ing ac­tu­al­ly went in­to the ini­tia­tive.

How­ev­er, he com­mend­ed the au­thor­i­ties for their fore­sight in im­ple­ment­ing stricter se­cu­ri­ty fea­tures and mea­sures to re­duce mon­ey laun­der­ing and the fund­ing of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­i­ties.

TTPS: Pa­trols in­creased around banks

As ques­tions were raised about in­creased se­cu­ri­ty, the Trinidad and To­ba­go Po­lice Ser­vice (TTPS) con­firmed it had in­creased mo­bile and foot pa­trols in the vicin­i­ty of bank­ing lo­ca­tions as peo­ple go about chang­ing their old $100 bills.

In a re­lease, Po­lice Com­mis­sion­er Gary Grif­fith said Emer­gency Re­sponse Task Force and Di­vi­sion­al Pa­trols are tak­ing place across the nine polic­ing di­vi­sions, “To pro­vide greater lev­els of safe­ty and com­fort, as peo­ple go about trans­act­ing their busi­ness at com­mer­cial banks.”

His dis­clo­sure fol­lowed con­cerns by mem­bers of the pub­lic about long lines out­side banks, where cus­tomers are seek­ing to turn in the old bills for the new $100 notes.

The CoP said, “The TTPS is aware that crim­i­nal el­e­ments may want to tar­get un­sus­pect­ing per­sons in the lines at banks,” and that po­lice of­fi­cers are out in full force to safe­guard mem­bers of the pub­lic, as they go about trans­act­ing their busi­ness.

In a re­lat­ed mat­ter, quick work by of­fi­cers of the Four Roads Po­lice Sta­tion, Diego Mar­tin re­sult­ed in the ar­rest of a 19-year-old man of La Re­source Road, Laven­tille, min­utes af­ter her robbed a woman who was on her way to the bank.

The vic­tim told po­lice she was walk­ing along the walkover of the Diego Mar­tin high­way around 11:15 am, when the man grabbed her bag which con­tained a quan­ti­ty of cash be­fore he fled on foot, along Cuth­bert Cir­cu­lar.

A re­port was made and of­fi­cers on pa­trol sub­se­quent­ly ap­pre­hend­ed the sus­pect a short dis­tance away.

The bag with the cash was al­so re­cov­ered from his pos­ses­sion.

Reporter: Anna-Lisa Paul