Government dismisses suggestion Jamaica phasing out cash
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has hit back at comments by Opposition Leader Mark Golding regarding the Government's push for adoption of Jamaica's digital currency and the timeline for release of the country's new banknotes.
In a Twitter post responding to a video made by Golding, Clarke stated that there is no digital currency mandate and the new banknotes will be in circulation by the mid-June timeline, which was previously announced.
Golding claimed in his video, posted to social media, that Prime Minister Andrew Holness was "driving fear into people by claiming we are going to go fully digital."
He said the prime minister explained that this would include digital currencies and the phasing out of cash, which Golding argued is impractical given limited internet access and banking services as well as the lack of a legal framework.
"The way it's being sold is as if it's imminent and it's going to replace cash in the near future and, of course, there is no preparation for that," he stated. "You know, the Prime Minister needs to calm down and move in a more measured way and take the people along with the full understanding that this is not going to imperil them or put them at some kind of disadvantage."
Golding also suggested that the Government had announced the introduction of new banknotes without properly planning the implementation and was now in peril of missing the mid-June timeline for rollout.
However, Clarke questioned Golding's motives for posting the video.
"The Opposition Leader is grasping at straws, desperate for relevance. What else explains propagation of rumours and untruths?" he asked on Twitter.
Clarke noted that the Bank of Jamaica has been working with retail banks to reconfigure their automated teller machines (ATMs) to accept the new notes.
"And remember, new banknotes in circulation doesn't mean that the old banknotes will suddenly be invalid and withdrawn! Both the new banknotes and the old banknotes will be in circulation in parallel for at least two years," he further explained.
Minister with responsibility for information, Robert Morgan, also responded to Golding's video with a TikTok post stating that "nobody is forcing anyone to use a digital currency."
"Cash is always going to be a part of our society. There is no plan by the Government to force anyone to use digital currencies," he underscored.
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