Monday, 8 May 2017

The Central Bank of Barbados

I have been meaning to write a post on our Central Bank of Barbados for the longest while but never got around to doing so.

However, when I received an Open Day invitation for the 45th anniversary celebrations, I thought it was the right time to attend.
This was the bank's way of sharing the bank with the public and  dispelling the mythical Bajan  question of "what do they really do in that big building?"
The bank had been serving the public for Forty five years -..... 45 years of Excellence, Stability, Innovation and Leadership were being put on display for all to see.
The online registration for the event was simple and I chose the first tour spot at 10am.

The Central Bank of Barbados is affectionately known as the "Central Bank" and is located at Church Village, in the heart of Bridgetown..

The Central Bank of Barbados was established by an Act of Parliament on May 2, 1972  to advance the economic development in the country.  The bank's main policy is to formulate monetary and fiscal policies in conjunction with the Government of Barbados.
Prior to 1972 the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA) was responsible for the management of monetary matters for most of the smaller Eastern Caribbean countries, which included Barbados.
The objectives of the bank at its inception were mainly to promote monetary stability and a sound financial structure.
The Barbados dollar is tied to the US dollar at Bds$2.00 to US$1.00.
The regulatory capacity of the Central Bank includes the issuance of bank notes and coins, licensing agencies such as banks, investment businesses, depository, trust and finance companies as well as supervising the credit worthiness of our financial system, administering international reserves and reporting to the country on national finances.

The Right Honourable John Michael Geoffrey Manningham "Tom" Adams was Prime Minister when construction began on the building and he laid the cornerstone that "topped out" the building.
Unfortunately he passed away before it was officially opened.

On February 11, 1998 the Central Bank of Barbados building was officially named the  Tom Adams Financial Centre.

The Acting Governor of the Central Bank is Cleviston Haynes.

The bank is built on a historic site where the Parliament of Barbados first met in June 1639.
 The architects for the ten-story superstructure were Mervyn A. Awon Architects Ltd

 The Grand Salle entrance was the check-in point for the tour.

Upon arrival, my online registration was checked and I was given an ID tag to wear along with a gift bag and a snack ticket.
We were then scanned by security officers and asked to wait for a little while.

Myself and other members of my group were invited to sit and wait in a lovely atrium courtyard surrounded with lush foliage and a fountain.
We were given questionnaires to fill out with answers to information that would come up during the tour. 

Sitting and admiring the 10 story building from inside its bowels made me feel quite is quite an impressive building.

After the official opening celebrations, our tour started off a little late but it was not a problem because I was part of a very  lively group with two friendly and informative tour guides.....we were soon enjoying our tour.

Our first stop was the Exhibition Village display set up with several booths/tables with all kinds of information about the bank's operations.
It was fun wandering around and gaining a wealth of information...the staff were ready to answer all queries.  Not only that but each table had a wide assortment of candies to choose from sweet.
I worked in the banking industry for many years, and believe me I learned a LOT on that day.
Into the main lobby we trotted obediently behind our tour guides and climbed the stairs to the upper levels..

Looking down on the Atrium Courtyard

 Tour number two gathering below.

We toured several areas of the bank and as we climbed higher and higher it was a birds eye view of down below.

The staff of the Central Bank are very fortunate to have all their needs met in one building.

 In the Cafetaria a cute cupcake display in honour of the 45th Anniversary celebrations.
 My snack ticket was put to good use.

Higher and higher we went until we reached the top floor (10th) where the office of the Governor of the Central Bank is located.

The bank is instrumental in mentoring the local Visual Arts exhibitions and to their credit have done an excellent job at exposing and promoting local talent.
Many of the hallways were lined with works of art.

 I especially like this collage.

The Governor's Office.

Portraits of previous Governors of the Central Bank

Gazing out from the tenth floor the views were spectacular.
 Looking across the city to the harbour where the cruise ships were docked.

Breath taking views of the city environs.

 Looking down on Roebuck Street
 Kensington Oval in the left background.
 The Supreme Court building in the center.

Looking out to the Harbour

Downtown Bridgetown

More downtown views

St. Michael's Cathedral

Another view of the upper city of Bridgetown

The Queen Elizabeth Hospital is the long blue building with the Constitution River flowing behind

Church Village Green...see my post here.

St. Michael's Cathedral in left foreground
National Insurance Building
Treasury Building
Fairchild Street Bus Terminal
Hilton Hotel across the bay.

Parliament Buildings

Treasury Building

Republic Bank is the blue building
It was a cloudy day and the sea looks squally in Carlisle Bay
Hilton Hotel in the background

Entrance into the Careenage.

Our next stop was the Frank Collymore Hall which adjoins the Central Bank.
We were ushered into a  "Know Your Money" workshop.
Here we were taught how to protect ourselves from counterfeiters by becoming familiar with the security features of genuine currency.

 There were two sets of currencies.
The 2007 issue and the 2013 issue and we asked to compare the differences.
The differences were astounding.
Many of the "checks" for discerning fake currency were easily spotted with the black lights but one could also check manually for the real currency.
Tactile areas and watermarks throughout were great visual aids.
 All the notes have UV light reactive areas
 Counterfeiters don't only target high value notes.
 Take this fake $20 bill which was originally a real $2.00 note.
The new printers and photocopiers on the market today make amateur counterfeiting quite easy....but if you have  a trained eye you won't be caught off guard.
These notes will be easy to to pass off at night mostly in my opinion.
 There are security threads on the $20, $50 and $100 notes.
Reflective bars weave in and out of the paper and change colour when they catch the light.
The bars become one continuous line when held up to the light.
As previously stated above, I worked in the Banking sector for many years, and I must admit that I learned a whole lot more than I expected on this tour.

 Display of our real Barbadian currency in the Central Bank Lobby.
Returning to the ground floor lobby, we handed in our completed questionnaires for the lucky prize draw.
While waiting for the draw to take place we were invited to have our event photos taken at the photo booth operated by a very pleasant photographer.
 In case you're I did not win a prize in the draw.
My prize was enjoying my morning learning new information and having fun while doing so.

Happy 45th Anniversary to the Central Bank of Barbados!!

CongratulatoryVideo from the Royal Canadian Mint here
Congratulatory Video from DeLaRue here

Part 2 of this tour will be the Frank Collymore Hall.....coming up next.


  1. What a very enjoyable post: both from the banking information point of view but also for the views of the city.

    1. The Central Bank holds the distinction of being the highest building on the island and it has the best views.....all 360 degrees of the city of Bridgetown and its environs.


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