Today’s Editorial, August 9: Progress brings change

Starting yesterday, anyone mailing something to the Cayman Islands will have to include a seven-digit postcode as part of the address.

While people mailing letters or packages to Cayman from overseas – where postcodes are the norm already – will probably not give the requirement a second thought, those of us here might find it difficult to adapt to the new system.

By nature, humans resist change and having to use postcodes will be no different.

However, progress often requires change. Some may argue that Cayman doesn’t need all the progress it has experienced over the past four decades, but it is hard to find fault with a system that will make postal delivery more efficient.

Partially because of the lack of a postcode, mail to the Cayman Islands from overseas is often miss-sent to other places, often delaying delivery for weeks or even months.

Our old system of using ‘GT’ for George Town, ‘NS’ for North Side and so forth, worked fine here locally, but meant little to those sending mail here from overseas. Indeed, many people overseas thought the ‘APO’ for the Airport Post Office meant Army Post Office, as it does in the United States.

Many of us have also experienced the frustration of trying to order something from overseas and not being able to leave the postcode space blank on the on-line order form.

The truth is, much of the rest of the world is using postcodes and it was time for the Cayman Islands to do so, too.

Getting used to the new system will take some time. But it’s not that difficult.

First off, all postcodes will start with the three-digit island code. KY1 is for Grand Cayman. KY2 is for Cayman Brac. KY3 is for Little Cayman.

Then, depending on which post office the mail is being delivered to, the first three numbers will be followed by a hyphen and then four more digits. Post box holders only need to look at the postcode chart and learn those four digits.

The most arduous part of the new postcode system will be informing everyone who sends mail to you about the change in your address. This will take some time and effort, and is likely to elicit some grumbling. But try to keep the end result in mind: in the future, your overseas mail will less likely to get here via the Seychelles or Timbuktu, and mail delivery in general will be more efficient.

Like adopting seven-digit telephone numbers after only having to use five digits for so long, we will adapt to using postcodes. And the benefits will far outweigh then inconvenience of learning a new system.