THE Post and Telecommunications Department is shortly to implement a raft of measures aimed at bringing it into the 21st century and tailoring its services to the needs of its customers and stakeholders.
So said Minister of State in the Ministry of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining Julian Robinson who spoke at Friday's launch of the department's Jamaica 50 commemorative stamps at its headquarters on South Camp Road, in Kingston.
The first move involves offering postal services from business places and establishments other than the post office.
"By that, I mean examining new methods and new mediums by which postal services can be delivered. It can be through retail shops, it can be through hardware shops and it can be through other types of physical buildings. This is important so that the post office is as close to its customers as possible," the State Minister said.
The Department will also be examining the feasibility of mobile postal services, especially in rural communities.
"This is very similar to the concept of mobile libraries where the postal service can actually go into communities to serve residents, and this is even more important in our rural areas where proximity to a post office is not as close as in our urban centres," Robinson said.
Efforts will also be made to modernise the department with the introduction of automated services so that transactions, from weighing packages to calculating cost and dispensing receipts, are electronically processed.
"These are three of the initiatives that we think are critical to keeping the postal service relevant. Postal services across the world have undergone significant transformation over the last 20 to 30 years, with the advent of e-commerce and by different methods through which persons can communicate," the state minister said.
Meanwhile, Minister of Youth and Culture Lisa Hanna is encouraging Jamaicans to buy the commemorative stamps, and even to keep them as souvenirs.
"I see people holding on to the $100 commemorative note and the $50; they don't want to spend them. Many of us will not be here (50 years from now), but certainly your grandchildren can hold on to it and say my grandmother gave this to me in our 50th year of Independence," she said.
For his part, Director of Post and Telecoms, Cecil McCain said he hopes Jamaicans will appreciate the stamps that have been selected, and that they will use and save them as one of the commemorative items coming out of Jamaica 50.
The stamps display the Coat of Arms and the Jamaica 50 logo.
Jamaica was the first British colony to establish a post office, doing so on October 31, 1671 in the then capital, St Jago De La Vega, now known as Spanish Town.