Our Readers' Opinions
October 21, 2004
St. Vincent postal service behind time

EDITOR: It seems peculiar that one has to write a letter to a newspaper in order to buy postage at the post office.

St. Vincent is a member of the International Postal Union; as such it is obligated to provide certain reciprocal services that all members of the IPU provide. One of those services is the sale of International Reply Coupons (website address: http://www.n6hb.org/s-a/irc.htm). {{more}}These are postage coupons for use in any IPU country, the object being to provide return postage for a reply. Example: I mail an enquiry to a company in Mexico, and I request a reply; I enclose an International Reply Coupon to cover the postage. Or I submit a manuscript for publication in Jamaica and include a self-addressed envelope for their reply. I would also enclose an International Reply Coupon to cover the postage.

These coupons are sold at post offices in 190 countries. But not in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. A recent visit to the main post office in Kingstown revealed that not a single employee, out of the seven spoken to, had the faintest notion of what an International Reply Coupon was. They all stated flatly that such a postal document was not available for sale in St. Vincent.

Is it possible that the Maldives Islands, Uzbekistan, and The Federated States of Micronesia all have more sophisticated postal systems than St. Vincent and the Grenadines? Is the International Postal Union aware of the fact that St. Vincent is not in compliance with its standards and protocols? Or is this simply a matter of poorly trained postal service staff?

I would like to see a response from someone within the office of the Director of Posts.