Barbados has earned a seat on the Postal Operations Council of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), placing it in a position to have a voice at the decision-making level in the multi-billion-dollar postal industry.
This country will serve on the Council for the next four-year term.
The Postal Operations Council is one of four bodies of the UPU, and is the technical, operational, economic and commercial arm, which deals with rates and the setting of specific regulations relating to the flow of mail between each member country. It also assists postal operators in modernising and upgrading postal products and services.
The Council is responsible for supply chain integration, physical services and e-commerce, markets development and e-services and postal financial services. Other bodies of the UPU are the Council of Administration, the International Bureau and the Congress.
Barbados was represented by Deputy Postmaster General, Iris Lashley, who was accompanied by Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of Barbados to the United Nations Office and other international organisations in Geneva, Chad Blackman, at the UPU’s Congress, in Abidjan, Ivory Coast, West Africa, which was held from August 9 to 27.
This was the first Sub-Saharan and hybrid Congress held in the UPU’s 147-year history.
During an interview with the Barbados Government Information Service, Mrs. Lashley said Barbados was now in a better position to lobby its own interests and those of the Caribbean on postal matters.
She explained that Cabinet had approved Barbados’ candidacy for the Postal Operations Council and the campaign was started to have the country elected.
She said holding the position means that Barbados would now have a say in determining the rules and regulations, and linking rates and conditions of exchange of mail items between member countries within the UPU.
“It allows Barbados to have a seat at the table to say this is going to affect Barbados this way, and therefore we want to have you consider not only how it would affect us but the Caribbean region, and therefore, we have more of an input in how things are done.
“We can now make our voice heard and we look at how far reaching the decisions would be and what would be beneficial for Barbados. If you do not have a seat at that table, your opinions are not heard… When a decision is made, it affects the 192 countries. If you are not there, you are not heard, so your input is not known,” the acting Postmaster General explained.
Now that the Barbados has earned its seat at the table, Mrs. Lashley said the country would be, inter alia, examining the proposal to open the postal industry in the UPU to the wider postal sector players, given the competition on the market.
However, she pointed out that e-commerce was a big money earner for all entities and the Barbados Postal Service had met with the UPU and recognised that the importance of moving forward in certain business areas, to connect with those outside of the postal industry, is an important step at this time.
Mrs. Lashley disclosed that Barbados had already started to lobby its case and that of other Caribbean countries to establish structures that were beneficial for all postal operators.
Other significant changes, arising from over 200 proposals examined at the Congress, include holding a mid-term Congress; a new remuneration system; a new development policy for 2022-2025 that would allow the UPU to engage in larger-scale projects that would be linked to development policies of individual countries; a change in the contributing fee structure, with larger countries volunteering to pay more dues; additional training for Barbados and the Caribbean postal services, and putting systems in place to allow them to function at a higher level.