NEW AMSTERDAM, BERBICE – The top brass of the Post Office Corporation posited the entity would not be left behind despite limited resources.
Constant efforts are being made to broaden the horizons, one such measure is to offer space for rental and this nets millions of dollars annually- presently there are three such at the Skeldon Post Office.
The advent of the electronic mail had no significant impact on the corporation while at the same time the volume of business mail increased and now accounts for 58 percent thus bringing in a large chunk of the revenue across the country.
No other entity in Guyana has such a large network – 65 locations — as the Guyana Post Office Corporation.
Overall there has been improvement in the delivery of mail across the country. The mail from Georgetown would arrive in New Amsterdam before 7:00 hours and more so, with the bridge across the Berbice River now in operation and the introduction of contractors.
Chairman of the Board of Directors, Bishop Juan Edghill, said that the New Year would see some technologically advanced services.
“We are not where we want to be but we are not where we used to be.” Mr. Edghill acknowledged. He added that the post office corporation is competing with high speed internet and the like. The need is greater now to upgrade both its physical and human resources, he added.
Security is a major concern for the entity. In East Berbice there were a few major incidents one of which claimed the life of a staff member.
In September 2007, New Amsterdam Post Office employee Jermaine Forde was gunned down by bandits during a robbery. The gunmen walked away with only $3,000 in coins. At the time of the incident, the victim and three other post office employees were returning from a commercial bank in New Amsterdam.
The team had gone to uplift funds for pension and the like payments but when they arrived at the bank the cash was not available and they were asked to return later.
While making their way back to the post office, which is located at Alexander Street and Republic Road they were attacked in Alexander Street just a short distance from the office.
In March 2007 another daring robbery was allegedly committed just about 200 yards from the New Amsterdam Post Office. In that incident two bandits made off with some $8.2 million and 38 -year old Kishore Sewlall, Post Master of the Nigg Police Station was shot in the abdomen.
Last August, two gun men escaped with $6 million from the Rose Hall Post Office. The cash, which was intended for the payment of old age and National Insurance Scheme pension, was collected about two hours prior to the robbery and was reportedly never placed in a vault but left under the desk of the then Post Mistress.
That official and the Postal Apprentice were both detained by police and subsequently released.
Bishop Edghill said that the Rose Hall Town incident should never have taken place and was a clear breach of security measures. Both the Guyana Police Force and the Post Office Corporation launched separate investigations after the incident.
The female official is no longer on the job after internal action was taken against her.
According to him, the corporation is doing everything in its power to provide the best forms of security but staff must understand the need to protect themselves and the state’s assets.
With the corporation having a zero tolerance for theft, mail tampering and the like wrongdoings any staff found guilty would face instant dismissal. Violated mail is of great concern and in the case of tampered overseas mail or packages, a verification note must be sent to the postal administration of origin.
In many instances, overseas mail/packages arrive in Guyana already tampered.
More attention was directed to the fight against the growing narco-trade and all frontline staff members were exposed to suitable training, new technology was introduced, and the corporation works in tandem with CANU, according to Bishop Edghill.
According to Bishop Edghill, the entity made a decision to upgrade facilities across the country.
In Region Six, based on representation made by residents, union representatives and the Board of Directors, renovation work began on three post offices. However, the entity generates its own finance and must cut its coat to suit its cloth hence state of the art facilities cannot yet be provided.
Some $2.7 million was expended on the Skeldon Post Office, $3 million at Eversham and $2 million at the Nigg Post Office.
In addition, of the 13 post offices in East Berbice/Corentyne renovation work was done, a few years ago, on the post offices at Black Bush Polder, Benab and East Canje.
The $7.5 million contract for the construction of the Melanie Damishana Post Office was recently awarded and the project is scheduled for a March completion date.
After the old building deteriorated, that location was without the service for the past five years. Other areas to receive attention include Meten-Meer-Zorg and Port Kaituma.
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