Post offices scheduled to be opened for business next week will do so with an added complement of staff to facilitate those cashing pension cheques, while also catering to other needs.
Minister of Home Affairs, Wilfred Abrahams, emphasised this on Saturday, during a press conference held via the Zoom platform, as he informed media representatives about operations at the island’s post offices.
Minister Abrahams, who registered satisfaction with postal workers’ handling of the encashment of cheques, NIS cheques dated February 15 and March 1, and payable on February 18 and 19, explained the rationale behind next week’s move.
He said: “It is worth noting that the cashiers at all post offices actually take our ‘Know Your Customer’ and ‘Know Your Client’ very very seriously, and we observed that they did not see many of their regular customers on Thursday, February 18, and Friday, February 19. So, as a result, the post offices, which were scheduled to be opened for business next week, in any event with a reduced staff, will open for business next week with an enhanced staff complement on Monday, February 22, and a skeleton staff to serve those customers desiring of using other postal services.”
While pointing out that long lines occurred on those two days as there was very heavy traffic at all the offices, with customers not only cashing pensions but also paying utility bills, he detailed the work of the officers prior to, and up to Thursday, February 18, and Friday, February 19.
He said those in the operations section reported for work on February 8 to process the NIS pension cheques, which postmen delivered between February 15 and 17, with inspectors and postmen also making deliveries to ensure all pensioners were in receipt of their cheques by the payment date.
Moreover, he noted that although the official hours of business for Thursday, February 18, were from 8:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m., many district post offices reported a 7:45 a.m. start, and some, like the post mistress at the Warren’s office, started to serve customers from as early as 7:15 a.m.
Further acknowledging that staff of the post offices did an excellent job in discharging their duties, he commended security guards, maids, senior postmen and inspectors assigned to each office, noting that they assisted with the health protocols and facilitated customers with special needs.
Adding that these offices also had a police presence, he stressed some staffers did not even take a lunch break as their main focus was to serve the customers as efficiently as possible.
“All customers were served regardless of the time it took; all offices worked well beyond 2:00 p.m., with St. John serving their last customer at 4:10 p.m. Staff not assigned to cash even volunteered their services at the post office counter and at the Eagle Hall Post Office,” Minister Abrahams remarked.
Commending the management and staff, he said: “The Postmaster General and all postal staff are to be commended for going the extra mile to serve the public of Barbados. I want to thank those officers who took on the great responsibility, and in the absence of some of their managers, who are not available, worked as a team to deliver excellent service.”
The Minister expressed the hope that ‘the regulars’ not seen on Thursday or Friday of last week, as well as others who had exited the long lines, would return on Monday.
And, he said: “So, we would have a sufficient complement to handle what we consider the stragglers to cash the pension cheques and thereafter the post office will operate on a reduced staff to handle the critical services that we have to dispense to the people of Barbados.”