Royal Mail, BVI Post Office
Problems can trigger domino effect — alienate business
by Oscar Ramjeet
Virgin Islands is making rapid and commendable strides in the financial world as
well as in tourism and the marine industry, the main sources of the
territory's economy, but there is fear that the progress of these institutions
would be hampered because of the unreliability of the postal service.
three business organizations as well as others use emails, and the expensive
Federal Express, UPS. DHL and other small courier services to send and receive
mails and packages, the postal service is the main means of dispatching as well
as receiving documents, and literature for their day to day business, and
inordinate delays and instances of disappearance of mails would definitely
affect the smooth operation or even dampen their operations.
been complaints to this newspaper that mails including registered packages sent
from the Road Town Post office to Europe via London have not reached their
destination, and efforts to track down these mails have been futile. In fact a
customer relations supervisor of the Royal Mail told one of the aggrieved
customers that the "Royal Mail receive no money from overseas postal
administrations towards processing registered mail, so they don't do anything
at all. It is impossible to track a registered item from overseas once it
arrives in England"
explanation by the Royal Mail official is not accurate because registered mail
is handled in locked bags in transit and in safes at either end of its route,
and it is receipted for (internal in the Post Office) at each step of the way if
it changes custody. Therefore it is very hard to lose it within the postal
service. If the mails or packages disappear in thin air the only logical
conclusion one can come to is either theft or they were misdirected to some
unknown destination. In any event the postal authorities in the country where
the mails arrived would be liable, but of course they would want to shirk
The Royal Mail
is trying to cover up for its inefficiency in paying out tens of millions of
pounds in compensation to customers for its poor service and it also missed all
its 15 service-quality targets which could have led to hefty fines from the
industry regulator Postcomm, but was spared by Postcomm because it will soon
face competition, and they have to pay substantial compensation (sixty million
move by Postcomm not to impose a fine has been criticized by the consumer
watchdog organization for the postal service, Postwatch.
made it quite clear that if postal services of other countries are involved,
they are not liable for loss or damage outside the United Kingdom but the
persons who have contacted this newspaper were advised by the BVI Postal
Authorities that their mails posted at the Road Town Post Office reached the
United Kingdom. This means that Royal Mail is legally liable. And do not forget
the BVI is a UNITED KINGDOM OVERSEAS TERRITORY.
In spite of
its poor performance, Royal Mail, has launched a public relation campaign and
has increased the price of first class stamps, but the British mail company
argues that its mail prices are far less than other European countries in terms
of value for money.
arrival of important mails sent from the BVI and to the BVI is posing a serious
problem to residents of the territory, and the government at the highest level,
be it the Legislative Council, or Executive Council should step in and make
representation not only on behalf of the customers, but also for the BVI
Postal Authorities and the Postmaster General.
It would be
prudent for the government to do so since the BVI, and all UK Overseas
Territories have an agreement with the British Government when they signed a
modern partnership agreement in 1998 which aimed at progress and prosperity.
to the agreement states "Britain's links with the Overseas Territories are
long standing and important. The relationship is rooted in a shared history,
but it moves forward too, in partnership. For Britain, the Overseas Territories
are a significant element in its national and international identity, and an
important responsibility. For the Overseas Territories, their links with Britain
are significant too".
noteworthy to mention that under the Modern Partnership Agreement BV Islanders
have an option to apply for British citizenship and a large number of them have
done so, and according to reports many of the new British citizens who live in
the BVI have been affected by the Royal Mail disservice, therefore it could be
argued that the BVI mail is no foreign mail in the United Kingdom.
The Royal Mail
is akin to the British Government and it might be a good idea if the BVI
government contact its senior partner for its intervention in this serious
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR: RE MAIL
SECRETARY IS APPALLED
I have read
the article in your newspaper of April 16, and I am in total agreement that
something has to be done about this Mail Service.
Gone were the
days when people had only the snail mail to depend on. Now there are so many
alternatives. One can use e-mail, express mail, chat on line to convey whatever
needs to be said, despite all of that the vast majority of people still use the
regular snail mail.
people are getting fed-up about the service provided. On numerous occasions
other people's mail are put in my box, and is returned promptly to the Post
Office so that it can be sent to the right recipient, however, what if
person who is not as considerate as I am received someone else's mail, any
number of things could be done with that piece of mail.
So whether the
fault is local or overseas, much more care should be taken when the mail is
KEEP UP THE
articles: The Politics of 'Foreigners' and BVI mail are particularly pertinent.
Thank you for bringing them to light.
probably outnumbering 'born here' BVIslanders Sir Ronald Sanders hits the nail
right on the head. One point, however, "the 'foreigner' vote has become so
important in many Caribbean countries..." certainly does not apply to The BVI.
'Foreigners' simply cannot vote unless naturalised and that process takes a long
wonder why mail takes so long to reach us. It was a surprise to learn that Royal
Mail is having its problems. We often receive mail form UK in 4 or 5 days. It is
the US mail that seems stuck in molasses. The overworked staff of BVI mail
sorting unit certainly deserves recognition and assistance.The long awaited move
of the East End/Long Look Post Office also seems stuck in bureaucratic molasses.
The present parking situation is a most serious traffic hazard.
article will put some pressure on Government to take corrective action. Pride in
its mail service used to be a measure of a country's ability to run itself.
the incisive reporting.
FRIEND OF THE BVI CALLS FOR UPU INVESTIGATIONS
I read with
great interest the articles about the problems with the postal service. They are
very informative --but annoying. When I was a child in Europe, we had three mail
deliveries a day, even one on Sunday. The postal employees were proud of their
government jobs. Now, I am glad when I get undamaged packages and/or letters!
carriers are still too expensive! What you report about the Royal Mail and the
Tortola service, is mirroring the US service. Here, they are raising the fees
again soon (to 39 cents for a letter). The Universal Postal Union (UPU) should
look into the problems. I hope it happens soon! Gustav A. Pohlig,
Waterloo NY USA
WOMAN TELLS OF HER EXPERIENCE WITH THE POST
I was amazed
at what I read in last week’s Island Sun. I read the articles about the Post
Office and can't help but comment on it.
While I am
convinced that many of our problems are not generated here, we do have some
massive problems too!
Caribbean Insurers sent me a registered letter, postmarked 5th November 2004.
The pink card was stamped on 28th November and put in the box the same day. The
letter had a deadline of 15th November, but took 24 days for the 30 feet
distance from the post office counter to my box.
One day I
found 22 letters for BDO Binder in my box (their box is next to mine), which I
hand delivered to their Manager. More than once I found letters in my box that
were actually addressed to Hon. David Brand (then the Chief Minister of
Montserrat), PO Box 207, Plymouth, Montserrat, WI. The letters had the correct
PO Box number, just on the wrong Territory.
when I carefully mentioned the problems with permanently wrong mail in my box I
was told I am just overstating the size of the problem. Well, at that time I
started taking the wrong mail home, took photo copies and gave them back to the
post office after putting a note on to highlight the correct box for the mail,
as well as my name. I have well over 50 copies of mail that was in my box in
recent times, destined to other people (not including the 22 letters to BDO!) It
even includes a recent Phone Bill to our Chief Minister, Dr. The Hon. Orlando
Now - I am not
so much concerned about mail wrongly put in my box, by where has my mail gone??
At one time I met a lady outside the post office, who just found three "mis-placed"
letters in her box. She told me that every week she gets several pieces of wrong
mail and "just dumps it in the garbage". I remember at least five occasions when
I received a call from Mrs. Wheatley at Roadtown Wholesale (their box is above
mine), telling me nicely to come and pick up some mail that was in their box!
I am waiting
for three items from the parcel post for over 6 months from the USA and one from
my Mom in Germany. I wonder who got them and enjoys the items that I paid for??
I am glad to
hear that plans of improvement are on the way. We need improvements for sure!
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