Our negotiators must demand that each flight convey our mail

Dear Editor,

On cable TV there is an ad: The words, the inflection!!  “My mum washes the dishes before she puts them in the dishwasher. So what does the dishwasher do?!”

 In the decade of independence as the Assistant to the Monitor in the Mails Branch GPO I recall being involved in receipt and dispatch of all mail, local and overseas, surface and air. The volume was so high that the authorities placed a second Monitor (Outdoor Monitor) to properly manage the mail traffic.

That was the decade of almost ten Aircraft Companies using Timehri Airport regularly. (KLM. SLM. ALM. PANAM. Cruzeiro Du Sol. BOAC. BWIA. Air France). The waterfront volume was similar with regular Canadian, Caribbean, UK/Europe and USA destinations served regularly.

What this meant was that our mail was received and dispatched with a regularity which was consistent and speedily effected. If you were around then you shipped large packages (even small ones and even letters) by surface mail with complete satisfaction.  Persons took overseas courses and used surface mail to send and receive course content. Dozens of bookstores imported hundreds of bags of books and flourished. We even had persons buying things like suit lengths, shoes, Xmas cards and the like by Cash on Delivery (COD) service through the Post.

What impressed me then was the special treatment given to the mail by carriers and their local agents. We were supplied with ship and airline schedules and called to be reminded to prepare dispatch/mail bags, and promptly informed of mail awaiting pickup. On many occasion we went aboard ships to uplift documents or special mail bags from ship officers.

When problems arose with “mail tampering” of our airmail bags coming especially from North America, the then PMG sought assistance and obtained cooperation from local authorities for someone (yours truly as the Asst Monitor) to meet arriving aircraft and be present to take control at unloading of mail from the holds of aircraft!  Later, other persons followed, and interestingly, I still have in my possession the pass issued to me in 1986 as APMG Ops, to traverse several restricted areas at Timehri while on mail duty.

Nowadays I airmail a letter to St Maarten and it takes from March to June to be delivered partly because of haul up capacity. This is not an isolated air mail problem. If it were not for one particular cargo flight company Guyana would be almost mail isolated. We know that Charters are not allowed by some countries to convey mail. We know about reciprocity. We are told that some American Carriers have recently sought permission to use our facilities at Timehri, as we know that LIAT has sought permission to increase usage of Ogle facilities.

What prevents our negotiators from putting on table a demand that each flight must convey our mail. Get the GPOC involved in these discussions as the technical mail operatives and let the PMG use the powers in the PTC Act to make carriers and their agents responsible to convey our mail. In the case of LIAT they should have destination-conveying responsibility of a set weight. Why not? 

Back to the opening case (apologies to Certo).What does the Minister/Cabinet do?

Even the Post can contribute to the good life.

Yours faithfully,

L A Camacho

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