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Letter writing dead, says Postmaster General

With the advent of new and advanced communication channels, the letter writing business is virtually dead.

This admission from Postmaster General Nigel Cobham as the General Post Office (GPO) launched a new prescription delivery service at its office in Cheapside, The City.

Cobham told the gathering that the increasing reliance on information communication technology has been having such a negative impact on the mail business that the volume of mail has been declining every year, forcing the post office to find other ways to raise revenue.

“As a consequence the need to find alternative revenue streams has become critical,” the postal service official said, adding, “The service we are launching here today is part of a serious thrust by the post office to diversify the range of products and services that we offer”.


Postmaster General Nigel Cobham.

However, the Postmaster General did not go into details on the post office’s financial position, even though he said a number of changes have had to be implemented to allow it “to at least cover its expenses” in the face of “reduced mail volumes occasioned by the almost non-existence of social mail and the aggressive campaign being waged by all the large mailers to replace paper bills sent via the post with electronic bills.

“This combination of factors has already forced the post office to re-examine how it does business.

Internally several changes have taken place within the last two years. For example, processes in operations, which for decades have been performed manually, are now computerized, thus resulting in faster deliveries of registered mail, small packets and parcels,” Cobham said.

That area of the operation, he said, had grown significantly over the past two years with the increase in Internet shopping.


A section of the audience at the launch of the prescription delivery service including BARP president Ed Bushell and Postmaster General Nigel Cobham.

The new prescription delivery service aims to assist people who are unable to physically collect their medication from the pharmacy at a cost of between $10 or $15.

However, it is not available over the counter at the post office, but through the pharmacies, where individuals will pay for service delivery.

The 163-year-old organization, the headquarters to 19 post offices across the island, is partnering with Massy Stores Pharmacy and Prescription Plus on the initiative which it hopes to extend to other pharmacies, as well as the state-run Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

It is the latest move by the GPO to mitigate the impact of technology on the postal industry.

In addition to stepped up marketing of its “delivery expertise” to manufacturers, retailers and other distributors, the post office recently refurbished and redesigned the physical layout of its business centre, adding some new services.

Cobham also said it was at an advanced stage of upgrading its bill payment platform. (MM)

13 Responses to Letter writing dead, says Postmaster General

  1. Ras Small
    Ras Small May 7, 2016 at 4:37 pm

    Dey call it progress! Dey want things faster, or maybe dey are lazier. Anyhow, happy 50th.

  2. Junior King May 7, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Wow, call him Columbus!

  3. Sonia T Phillips
    Sonia T Phillips May 7, 2016 at 8:06 pm

    I post a sympathy to my friend to antigua on the 30th december last year it ain’t reach there yet I called my friend ask her if she got the card it ain’reach yet

  4. Chris Wright May 7, 2016 at 8:51 pm

    Ouuuuu!! Someone just awoke and realized that letter writing is dead. I have the last letter I received sometime in late 80s in New Jersey from my late father who lived in Barbados. I take it out once in a while and have cherished reading it.
    With the age of technology approaching postal services did not take into consideration that as the older people died, as their offspring and families who immigrated to distant places had little or no reason to contact anyone else thereafter, the need to write a letter would be diminished.
    Then came the computer and internet, then came email and social media, then came online banking and ebills, then came the cell phone, then came UPS and Fedex, where were the minds of the postal service leaders?
    Like the postal services here in the USA, the ‘chicken has come home to roost” in Barbados.

  5. dave May 8, 2016 at 12:48 am

    There are some Government Offices and some Lawyers and other professionals who do not respond to your e-mails. You still have to write them a letter in hard copy. I am really taken back by this nonsense. Some people ignore your e-mails, hard copies and everything else anyhow . Bunch of lazy human beings who do not want to do any work. Barbados full of LAZY people !!!!!

  6. J. Payne May 8, 2016 at 12:57 am

    FedEx from Boston to Barbados = USD$98.00 I say heck yea that is dead. Mailed something from Boston to Barbdos regular post it arrived on island a week later and took two weeks for my fam. To get a call to general post office to be told it was now ready for pick up. Barbados isn’t read for cheap reliable postal services yet.

  7. Malcolm King May 8, 2016 at 3:35 am

    Letter writing is still the most effective way to get a response when dealing with business and the legal system. In any part of the world. To this day all major Government departments have correspondence units that deal with both electronic and written mail. How do you email a raised seal letter, ID card , passport etc.? How do you email to someone that doesn’t have a computer or printer with an Internet connection? What is the percentage of people who don’t own computers in Barbados. The system for obtaining a passport in Barbados is unbelievably idiotic. They assume everyone regardless of age or physical disability has access to a computer. Lastly package delivery Fedex and DHL are cherry picking the most profitable part of the mail. The PMG must set up divisions to deliver these packages when they get to Barbados but this must be done with utmost speed not Barbados speed and attitude.

  8. Maria Leclair Dasilva
    Maria Leclair Dasilva May 8, 2016 at 3:45 am

    Sent a parcel from way out in Western Canada to Barbados, took 4 days.

  9. jrsmith May 8, 2016 at 4:34 am

    This is the real true business side of Barbados and the management attitude , I don’t really think this man has realize most of Barbados is foreign own, he is part of the bajan dinosaurs just woken up to realize we are in the 21st century. See now why the question must be answered , after 50 years of (Independent )
    (DEPENDANTCY)is Barbados/Bajans ready for the 51st year..

  10. Alex Alleyne May 8, 2016 at 4:56 am

    Andrew Hatch is smiling all the way . He has complained about the “sloppy” business handed out by the Post Office for years.

  11. Sharon Woolley
    Sharon Woolley May 8, 2016 at 1:15 pm

    Probably because the postal system in Barbados is hopeless, quicker to walk from one side of the island to the other,


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