Officials investigating why mail was damaged and scattered East Hill Street

A top East Hill Street, laying among rubble and debris in puddles of water yesterday were dozens of pieces of damaged mail that never made it to their rightful owners.

Now an investigation has been launched to determine how the mail was scattered about the demolition site of the old East Hill Street Post Office.

The battered envelopes were pictured scattered on the ground along the fence, many orange envelopes labeled “On Bahamas Government Service” and others from private entities addressed to individuals who never got their mail.

Some letters had water damage, while others were already torn open. Some contained checks and other confidential documents.

One document was a residency application approval letter from the Department of Immigration, dated October 7, 2020.

Another piece of mail found scattered was addressed to a Hubert Ingraham from the Bahamas Central Securities Depository.

When The Nassau Guardian arrived, a post office employee pulled up and began to pick up the scattered mail to place them in a bus.

When asked what happened, he didn’t say much, only that when the fencing went up for demolition, post office employees were not allowed back in to see if any additional pieces of mail were around.

The Nassau Guardian also asked what would be done with the mail, to which the man replied that they would be taken to the new post office at Town Centre Mall for processing.

Postmistress-General Jennifer Johnson said the mail came from a drop box that was left near the street in front of the post office, but she could not say whether it was caught in the demolition or what caused the mail to be scattered about.

“We would have removed the mail from the old building,” Johnson said speaking of the old post office that was demolished less than two weeks ago.

“However, it is my understanding that the red drop box that was there would have been sealed off prior to it being moved, because we normally have to move that with heavy equipment.

“Unfortunately, that was not moved before the demolition. But the box itself was sealed off. My understanding is that the seal was removed by somebody and so persons would have dropped mail in there. But it’s under investigation now and we’re looking into it to see how that could have happened.”

She added, “Unfortunately, persons are not respecting the mail like they used to and we are continuing to have issues with the drop boxes, with items being either removed or debris being placed in them. But this is certainly of real concern for us and we are now going to see how we can have those removed from the street and perhaps put in more secure locations. Those were there for the convenience of the public, but unfortunately, persons are not respecting them like they used to.”

The General Post Office was moved from its original location of East Hill Street to the Town Centre Mall in 2019.

The remains of the old building were demolished nearly two weeks ago.

When asked for clarification over whether the drop box was caught in the demolition, Johnson said she couldn’t say for sure, but that she could not see how that could have been a possibility.

“I cannot say that it was caught in the demolition,” she said.

“I cannot see that persons who would have had oversight of that destroying the drop box because that’s a very visible item that was out there in front of the street.”

Johnson said she was only alerted to the discovery early yesterday morning.

As for what happens with the mail now, Johnson said processing will take place and the rightful owners will be contacted to come and collect their mail.

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Kyle Walkine

Kyle started with The Nassau Guardian in June 2014 as a broadcast reporter. He began anchoring the newscast four months later. Kyle began writing national news and feature stories in 2016. He covers a wide range of national stories. He previously worked as a reporter at Jones Communications. Education: College of The Bahamas, Bachelor Media

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