Fresh, new banknotes ready

The Cayman Islands Monetary Authority this week began introducing newly designed banknotes.

It is the first complete redesign of Cayman Islands banknotes since the local currency was introduced in 1972.

While many of the familiar elements of the banknotes have been kept, the new $1, $5, $10, $25, $50, and $100 notes will feature new images, patterns and, in the case of the $50 note, the new colour purple.

Each note bears an updated portrait of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, along with the Cayman Islands crest, and all the notes now carry an outline of Grand Cayman, Cayman Brac and Little Cayman.

The imagery of the new series of notes showcases the environmental heritage of the Cayman Islands in the form of indigenous flora and fauna from all three islands. The jurisdiction’s expansion from its sea-faring tradition into a modern financial services centre is also depicted.


The $1 note shows a school of Angel fish on the front and an image of the Cayman Brac Bluff, viewed from sea level, on the reverse.

The colour scheme of the $5 note is dark green, with olive and bright greens. Hawksbill turtles swim on the front of the note and a pair of Cayman parrots perch on the reverse.

The $10 note is predominantly bright red, with violet and dark grey highlights and a yellow-green centre. On the front are land crabs, while the back shows a plume of Wild Banana Orchids.

The main colours of the $25 are dark brown, with light brown and orange. Shells are scattered on the front and, on the reverse, a Hawksbill turtle glides above the reef.

The $50 note combines purples with hints of green and red. It carries images of stingrays on the front and a single stingray cruising through the water on the reverse.

Orange, brown and red are the main hues of the $100 note. The front features a Cayman schooner, illustrating the tarde and commercial heritage of the Cayman Islands, contrasted on the other side by a recent aerial view of George Town.


The new design also incorporates innovative features to significantly increase protection against counterfeiting and to make the notes more durable.

The security features should make it relatively easy for most people to tell the difference between Cayman Islands legal tender and counterfeit banknotes, CIMA said in a statement.

The readily visible security features include the serial number, a metallic window security thread that weaves in an out from top to bottom on the front of the $1, $5 and $10 banknotes, a holographic stripe on the front of the $25, $50, $100 denominations, a turtle watermark, the ‘CIMA’ electrotype, see-through images, an iridescent band on the front of the lower three denominations and a unique ultraviolet reactive image known as the Gemini.

CIMA Managing Director Cindy Scotland noted the importance of the new security features: “Much thought and work went into enhancing the security elements and increasing the number of different features on each denomination.

While counterfeiters will always try, the new notes will be significantly harder to forge, especially if people know what to look for and are vigilant. I urge everyone to take time to get really familiar with the notes so they can better identify attempted counterfeits,” she said.

In line with the 2009 Constitution, the new notes will bear the signature of the minister of finance, rather than the financial secretary’s, and of CIMA’s managing director.

The development of the new banknotes started in 2007. CIMA Chairman George McCarthy said, “The Board felt that it was timely to carry out a complete update of the banknotes, first, to modernise a design that had not changed substantially since the initial 1972 design, and, second, to take advantage of the latest security features available. Both the previous and current Cabinet agreed to this initiative.

“The length of the process, from conception to issuing, reflects how extensive the redesign has been and the many components of such a project,” he added.

Premier and Minister of Finance McKeeva Bush said he was “pleased with the design of these new banknotes, which are a stunning reminder of our Islands’ natural treasures”.

CIMA has started issuing the new banknotes through the local retail banks, using a phased approach.

The public can expect to see the $5 and $25 notes first.

Other denominations will follow as the notes that are now in circulation are gradually withdrawn from circulation.

All previously-issued banknotes continue to be legal tender.


CIMA started the release of newly designed banknotes this week.
Photo: Submitted

If you value our service, if you have turned to us in the past few days or weeks for verified, factual updates, if you have watched our live streaming of press conferences or sent an article to a friend... please consider a donation. Quality local journalism was at risk before the coronavirus crisis. It is now deeply threatened. Even a small amount can go a long way to sustaining our mission of informing the public. We need our readers’ financial support now more than ever.