Friday, Aug 23, 2019
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The Bahamas postal service

Bahamians, especially those in New Providence, welcome the opening of the new post office in the Town Centre Mall. After more than a decade of declining mail service in New Providence, even those opposed to the new location will admit that a move for the main post office was necessary.

We expect that improved, timely mail service will follow.

This is an opportune time for the government to revisit the entire postal service with a view to bringing it into the 21st century; an opportunity for privatization and innovation in the system.

The declining demand for traditional postal services – that is, the mailing of letters, cards, statements, invoices and bills, advertising materials, delivery of parcels and so on – requires an urgent response.

The steady expansion of e-commerce, including e-banking and of social media, has changed the postal landscape locally and internationally. Growing numbers of customers have moved to electronic communication for both business and social communication.

Utility corporations and companies have moved their billings online and customers have reciprocated by moving their payments online.

This is true for life, health and vehicle insurance companies, and even for some small businesses and independent entrepreneurs. It is possible today, for example, to pay for house cleaning and landscaping services via online inter-bank transfers.

Facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram are the principal means of keeping in touch for most families and friends today. And, not only birthday greetings but Christmas and New Year greeting cards have also fallen victim to e-cards.

Further, the steady growth and popularity of Bahamas-based private package delivery services has eaten into parcel post volumes.

We also think the recent practice of using satellite post offices in New Providence as depots for the payment of certain utility bills might be expanded so that all such accounts, whether for the Water and Sewerage Corporation (WSC), Bahamas Power and Light (BPL), BTC, Aliv, might be settled at agency-specific windows at the post office.

In this brave new world, The Bahamas’ postal service must redefine its place and function. We think it is time for this expensive, inefficient service to move forward, employing new policies and technologies, right-sizing its workforce and rationalizing operational locations around the country.

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