Some residents of Cayman may be grumbling about missed checks or Christmas cards because of a delay in mail delivery.
But the island’s Postal Service said this week that the agency wasn’t the cause of the problem.
‘It’s unfortunate that this situation happened,’ said Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow. ‘It’s one more joke to just poke at the Postal Service, but the reality is that this particular situation is out of our control.’
A payment dispute between a shipping company and its freight forwarder left an estimated 4,000 pieces of mail sent to Cayman between December 2004 and February 2005 stuck in a Miami warehouse. The mail has been sent here over the past two weeks.
Cayman Islands postal officials had no idea the mail was even there until employees with Thompson Line shipping discovered it while cleaning out the warehouse.
Ms Glasgow said the lack of notification is part of the reason why surface mail (mail sent by boat) gets lost.
‘We don’t receive any pre-advice on surface mail,’ she said. ‘So we didn’t know this particular shipment was headed our way, or that it was missing. No red flags went up.’
She said airmail sent to Cayman is much easier to track because of bar codes on mail bags and dispatch numbers. She said carriers that transport mail from the US and UK generally inform the island’s Postal Service about what to expect.
‘Not all postal administrations use dispatch numbers. On airmail it’s a standard given, but not on surface mail,’ she said.
Deputy Postmaster General Anthony Williams said the Postal Service will work with other agencies to see if the islands can be pre-notified about surface mail as well as airmail.
‘We would have to negotiate with the administration that sent the mail,’ Mr. Williams said. ‘We can ask them to send us a copy of the bill that comes with the mail. The bill will tell us how many bags are supposed to be in each dispatch.’
Mr. Williams said notification would likely have to be airmailed ahead of the surface mail shipment’s arrival.
‘Then we would have a chance to look out for this mail,’ he said.
The Postal Service is already delivering the old mail to addresses in Grand Cayman. Ms Glasgow said it’s possible some addressees no longer live on the Cayman Islands, in which case the mail will be returned to sender.
Anyone who has questions about the mail in this particular incident is asked to call Assistant Postmaster General Tara Bush at 814-6506.