The Cayman Islands Postal Service officially reopened to receive international mail on 6 May. In practice, however, much of the jurisdiction’s international mail service remains on pause.
Limited air lift and ongoing transportation negotiations have complicated deliveries between Cayman and the United States, explained Premier Alden McLaughlin during Tuesday’s COVID-19 press conference.
“Prior to the closure of Cayman’s borders to control COVID-19, the United States Postal Service had contracted American Airlines to transport its mail to Cayman. Of course, AA is not currently authorised to fly into Cayman, so an alternative has had to be explored,” McLaughlin said.
“The United States Postal Service, the Cayman Islands Government and Cayman Airways are in negotiations and, I think, close to concluding an agreement to allow Cayman Airways to transport United States Postal Service mail to and from the Cayman Islands.
“Transportation of United States Postal Service mail will commence as soon as those negotiations are concluded and the necessary security clearances can be obtained, which we all expect to be soon.”
The premier added that, ultimately, the responsibility of restoring US deliveries to the islands rests with the United States Postal Service.
Cayman’s Post Master General Sheena Glasgow explained that it is always the sending country’s responsibility to deal with transportation logistics for deliveries.
“This outbound transportation responsibility makes sense if you consider that the sending country also collected the postage paid by the customer and the postage is meant to cover costs, including transportation to the Cayman Islands,” Glasgow said in written comments to the Cayman Compass.
Establishing alternate transportation arrangements has been a barrier for many of Cayman’s mail partners, Glasgow added. The only country that has regularly sent mail to Cayman during the crisis has been the United Kingdom, which has relied on sea freight and air-bridge flights to London operated by British Airways. Cayman Airways has also transported mail to Jamaica.
For United States voters concerned about mailing ballots, the US Consular Agency in George Town is able to assist.
US Consular Agent Gary Montemayor said voters should first request an emailed ballot from the state, county or city where they last voted. Step-by-step instruction for this process can be found online at www.fvap.gov.
Once a ballot is complete, it can be dropped off at the US Consular Agency at Smith Road Centre and the agency will mail it. Montemayor added that the envelope must include postage. A postage-free envelope can be accessed at www.fvap.gov.