On last night's news, we told you about the opening of a week-long training which leading officials from the Government Post Offices all across the Caribbean are participating in. They're trying to improve the postal services in the region, but we wondered today just how relevant the postal service is at this time. Email, mobile phones and social media apps have taken over modern communication – and letters are mostly only sent by older persons who love the written word and lawyers who love paperwork.
So, how does this Government Department continue to remain relevant? Well, Belize's Deputy Post Master General told us with competition that the internet brought, it also opened online shopping and E-commerce. The post offices all around the world have tapped into that market. Here's how he explained it:
Hon. Edmond Castro - Minister of State, NEMO
"Not just Belize that is challenged facing difficulty with the post but the entire region and the world and if you listen to critics' 10 years ago they had predicted that the post would have been out of service by now. That is not the case; the post is here to stay."
"We're in the age of e-mails, we are in the age of people buying online and there is thing impression that maybe the postal service is becoming obsolete."
James Gabourel - Dep. Postmaster Gen, Bz Postal Service
"The issue with internet, internet has offered a lot of opportunity to post offices. For example if you consider the issue of ordering online you will find out that when persons would make purchases via the internet by and large customers do not just want their product but they want speedily. The post office saw a need for this speedy delivery service and hence the post office developed what we have today the express mail service. With the express mail service you can get internationals items to Belize within 3 to 5 days. Research has shown that Amazon is so much into packets and small packages and in terms of the efficient delivery of the packets that they are creating revenues to have these parcels delivered in a more timely manner. And so once they would come out to the post office and work along with the post offices that aspect of speedy delivery would even develop further."
The Deputy Postmaster General told us the Caribbean post offices are currently trying to set up an arrangement with a consolidator in the US. The idea is that when CARICOM residents order goods from Amazon, it will be shipped to this consolidator who will then mail them to the post office of the country that the customer lives in.