|Hon. Shawn K. Richards|
Minister with Responsibility for Postal Services et al
__________ On October 9th, 2020, the St. Kitts and Nevis Postal Services joins the global community in celebrating “World Post Day”. The day was declared by the 1969 Universal Postal Congress in Tokyo as a means to mark the anniversary of the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) creation in 1874.
The celebration of World Post Day is geared toward bringing awareness to the Posts in the everyday lives of people and businesses, as well as its significant contribution to social and economic development.
To commemorate this year’s celebrations, the St. Kitts Postal Services is guided by the theme: “Delivering Development through Innovation, Integration and Inclusion.”
As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the international postal sector has been disrupted significantly. From March 2020, St. Kitts and Nevis’ borders have been closed and majority of commercial flights have been grounded globally.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Postal Services has been preparing itself to adapt, innovate and adjust to the new realities, as we hope for and await the return to normalcy. In the interim, as the Covid-19 pandemic forces us to accept a ‘new normal’ as to how we live, work and play, our postal services must be ready to adequately cope. The Postal Services is an essential part of our daily lives and is even more evident as we live through this pandemic. As we make strides to live and co-exist with COVID-19, our foremost goal must be to work in an environment where health and safety are prioritized. Notwithstanding, the Postal Services must continue to establish itself as a revenue generator and as such, it must adjust its products and services during these changing times in order to be competitive and relevant.
While generally considered a threat to society, the COVID-19 pandemic has also revealed some untapped opportunities for the Postal Services. The acceleration in the digitization of its services for efficiency and reduction in paperwork in the workplace is one such opportunity. This would be particularly important at the counter operation where the automation of customer transaction can take place in a fast and secure manner. The counter automation for the General Post Office, Subs and Branch Post Offices and also Nevis Post Office will soon come into effect during the balance of the year 2020 into 2021.
The interaction and inclusion of technology at the post offices will upscale our products and services and afford the opportunity to think outside the box to introduce new products and services that are relevant to our customers’ needs.
These are just only a few examples of how the St. Kitts – Nevis Postal Services is using and plans to use the negative COVID-19 pandemic to produce positive results.
A report by the Universal Postal Union (UPU) titled “The Covid-19 crisis and the postal sectors” reflects postal volumes dropping by 21 percent in 2020. The report identifies three (3) outcomes for postal operations around the globe. The pessimistic outcome – postal operators are unable to fully recover. The expected outcome – postal operators recover from the short-term impacts of Covid 19 but continue to face declining letter post volumes. The optimistic outcome – postal operators recover quickly and harness opportunities that would reverse long term volume declines.
The St. Kitts and Nevis postal services has been and will continue to work very hard towards the optimistic outcome.
We are reminded that the Postal Services is an essential service during Covid-19 and beyond. And so, we implore you to follow the protocols established by our health professionals. Prior to entering our facilities, ensure that you are outfitted with a mask and upon entry be sure to sanitize your hands.
As I close, it would be remiss of me not to recognize and thank all the staff at the St. Kitts and Nevis Postal Services for their hard work and steadfastness during this pandemic.
We pray that God will continue to bless our Federation as we continue the fight against Covid-19.
I wish everyone a happy and safe World Post Day. Thank you.