APO swamped with undeliverable mail

The Cayman Islands’ Airport Post Office, where all incoming mail to the Cayman Islands is sorted, receives hundreds of pounds of mail per day that is undeliverable.

During a media tour of the facility Tuesday afternoon, Acting Postmaster General Anthony Williams explained that this is because these letters are not being addressed properly.

Anthony Williams

Acting Postmaster General Anthony Williams surrounded by undeliverable mail that has arrived at the Airport Post Office in the past two weeks. Photo: Cliodhna McGowan

These letters include only a street address, with no P.O. Box number or suffix – Airport Post Office or Seven Mile Beach PO, for example.

‘We want people to help us help them by addressing their mail properly,’ said Mr. Williams.

Those letters not addressed properly come mostly from the United States, he said.

The vast majority of these undeliverable letters are for companies, Mr. Williams noted, saying that it is mainly documents and letters it happens with rather than packages.

But delivery is not as simple as referring to the post-box rental system, because many of the Cayman Islands’ financial firms, law firms and trust companies represent numerous registered companies that receive mail addressed to the same private letterbox, says Post Office management.

A statement from the Post Office explaining the situation says, ‘These numerous companies would not be on record in our private letterbox rental system and are often not listed in the telephone directory.

‘The situation is exacerbated because staff of these firms often receives their personal mail via the firm’s private letterbox. This situation creates numerous problems for us, including unsatisfactory customer service.’

Post Office employee Donald Solomon works full-time to return these undeliverable items to the sender, noting on the envelope that there was an insufficient address and a P.O. Box is needed.

Post Office staff even work nights to send this huge volume of mail back to where it came from.

The mail costs a lot to return, and it would cost even more in manpower to have people actively seek out these companies, many of which are unlisted, said management.

The problem seems to have escalated in the past two years, said Mr. Williams, and is something he believes is possibly attributable to the growth in new people from overseas and new companies now on-island.

Mails Manager Verdum Terry put the problem in perspective when he noted that the quarter spanning July, August and September 2005 had 101,839 pieces of mail that had to be returned to the sender because it was undeliverable.

For October, November and December 2005 there was 74,791 pieces, and for the first three months of this year there were 100,295 piece of mail that had to be returned.

‘It’s not that we don’t want to deliver this mail. We do. It’s just that it needs a P.O Box on it,’ Mr. Terry said.

Addressing Mail

Addressing personal mail

To properly address mail coming to the Cayman Islands via a private box, include: name, P.O. Box number and suffix indicating the relevant post office, and the island where the letter is to be delivered. The next line should have the Cayman Islands in capital letters.

Mr. John Smith,

P.O. Box 123 SAV

Grand Cayman


Addressing Business Mail

To properly address business mail, include the person’s name, the company’s name, the P.O. Box number and suffix, the island, and Cayman Islands in capital letters.

Ms. Jane Doe

Scotch Bonnet Co.

P.O. Box 10843APO

Grand Cayman


Express Mail Service courier delivery

Street addresses are only relevant for Express Mail Service (EMS) deliveries and are insufficient for post office delivery of ordinary letters, parcels and registered mail. To properly address EMS mail, include the person’s name (and company if required), P.O. Box and suffix, the street address, the island, and Cayman Islands in capital letters.

Ms. Jane Doe

Scotch Bonnet Co.

P.O. Box 10843 APO

123 Edward St.

Grand Cayman


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