Dick Johnson forwarded this article, which mentions the new $5,000 bank note being issued by the Bank of Jamaica this week. I've been unable to locate an image of the new note - can anyone help? For substitute eye candy I've included instead an image of the Jamiaca coat of arms from the Bank of Jamaica's web site. -Editor The selection of former prime minister Hugh Shearer's image to grace the new $5,000 note should be of no surprise, based on the central bank's reminder of the policy which affords the honour only to national heroes and to late prime ministers.
That the announcement should have caused some amount of controversy is also no surprise as this is expected when at least three other names have been proposed, setting the stage for a lively debate, Jamaican style.
What may not have been recalled at the launch of the new bank note is that the successful conversion of our currency from a complicated sterling system to dollars and cents was presided over by Hugh Shearer himself as prime minister in 1969.
No discussion on this issue can be complete without reference to a humorous exchange which took place in 1969, and which is all the more relevant as we reflect on the naming of a currency bill after a politician.
With the new currency about to be launched, Gleaner columnist Morris Cargill, noted for his pungent wit and irreverent view of politicians, published a piece expressing the hope that the finance minister would not name the new currency after any politician as there was nothing he would dislike more "than having to carry a Seaga or a Shearer around in my pocket".
As luck would have it, Seaga appeared on JBC-TV that evening and, in direct reference to Cargill's column, declared he would support a competition to name the new currency, and he himself would enter by suggesting that the lowest denomination, the one-cent coin, be called a Cargill, "because that would mean having a Cargill would be next to having no cents at all".
To read the complete article, see: Back in circulation (http://www.jamaica-gleaner.com/gleaner/20090521/cleisure/cleisure4.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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