Mail record at GPO in one month
Nearly one million pieces of election mail have been handled by the Barbados Postal Service (BPS) over the last three weeks, said Postmaster General Margaret Ashby.
When this workload is added to the 1.2 million pieces the service handles monthly, on average, in bills, statements and general mail, this is likely a record for the most mail ever moved by them in a single month.
Ashby explained that the postal service played a critical role in Barbados’ democracy as it was mandated by law to deliver all the mail from the Electoral and Boundaries Commission (EBC) to each person eligible to vote. In addition, it was also charged with delivering one piece of mail free of postage for each candidate in each constituency.
With 255 833 registered voters, this meant the BPS sent out that number of notices from the EBC, plus that same number for the two major political parties – the ruling Democratic Labour Party and Barbados Labour Party – on behalf of their 60 candidates contesting the 30 constituencies. They also delivered a circular on behalf of Solutions Barbados, whose candidates are contesting 28 constituencies, while some candidates paid for personal correspondence to constituents.
To achieve the deadline before tomorrow’s General Election, it has been all hands on deck for the just over 600-member BPS staff. Those on leave were recalled to work and a meeting was held with the political parties to make them aware of their deadlines in order to efficiently get the circulars out.
At the post offices themselves, most of the 250 postmen sorted their routes at night, then delivered those circulars the next morning. When they completed their routes, they either went back out to do more deliveries or sorted another batch of circulars that night for the following day.
Very good response
“We have had very good response from our staff . . . . We have also had very good response throughout the organisation because some managers, and even the senior managers, have gotten involved to ensure that as fast as the circulars came in, they could be sorted, allocated and delivered,” said Ashby.
She singled out Valeta Best, deputy postmaster general, operations, and Gerry Brathwaite, postal superintendent of operations, for marshalling the teams to successfully coordinate the processing and delivery of the election circulars. But Ashby stressed it was a team effort and expressed how proud she was of their professionalism.
Explaining the punishing schedule the BPS staff had been keeping, Brathwaite said as soon as the EBC or party delivered their circulars to the General Post Office, senior postmen and postmen would do the primary sorting, identifying the bulk mail for the different postal districts. On completion, that mail was immediately sent off to the district offices, where the secondary sorting according to each route was done.
Brathwaite said over the last three-day weekend, postmen were in the field delivering the last election circulars to ensure the deadline was met. (SP)