Citizens who say the redesigned $50 note is evil are engaging in acts of divisiveness, Minister in the Ministry of Finance and the Economy Rudranath Indarsingh said yesterday. He and his Cabinet colleague, Arts and Multiculturalism Minister Dr Lincoln Douglas, said claims of occultic symbols in the design of the new bill are perception, not reality.
The redesigned $50 note, which was put into circulation earlier this month, has been the source of considerable debate since then, particularly on social networks, with many criticising its design. The new bill is also the focus of a viral video.When the new note was launched by the Central Bank it was described as depicting "the natural beauty and vibrant energy of Trinidad and Tobago."
It is made of polymer, making this country the first Caribbean nation to issue polymer notes, the bank added.However, many citizens have been speaking out against one of the features of the note, a picture of a young female masquerader in an award-winning Carnival costume.While the Central Bank says that picture "captures the energy of our people", some have complained on social media that it is a depiction of a serpent queen and even the devil.
One video shows a close-up view of the masquerader's headpiece, describing it as an image of collection of snakes.Douglas in defending the image, said it was one of the most beautiful works of art and heritage in the country and the redesigned note was "the most beautiful money" ever produced in T&T."The greater evil is what people are perceiving about the note," he said.
The minister said controversy over the $50 bill issue reminded him of the so-called weather dragon which was atop the Red House up to the early 1990's. According to Douglas, people erroneously blamed that "dragon" for the many evils and ills taking place in the country at that time and it was removed by the then PNM administration.
Douglas said after he heard some of the claims being made about the new currency, he "went back and looked at the picture and I don't get it. It is not evil."He appealed to citizens to "desist from allowing themselves to be abused by superstition and necromancy " and advised those with concerns about the note being reflective of the devil to "go to your church and pray."
Indarsingh said it was clear that citizens were using their freedom of speech to engage in divisiveness, hiding their identities on social media while engaging in acts of a divisive nature. Indarsingh said the Central Bank had made it clear that it chose things that represented the people of the country in producing the redesigned note.The $50 note was redesigned after the previous one looked similar to the $20.