09 MARCH 2017
PHILIPSBURG–Prime Minister William Marlin says the entire structure of Postal Services St. Maarten (PSS) needs to change in order for the organisation to survive.
Marlin was at the time responding to questions from The Daily Herald about the challenges being faced by the postal services including its dire financial straits.
Marlin said the postal services started off its operations “on the wrong foot,” which he said “is a recipe for disaster and a recipe for bankruptcy.”
“The post office [dating back to – Ed.] the days of the Netherlands Antilles cannot sustain itself with the number of employees that it has. The responsibilities of a post office and the nature of the business have changed,” Marlin said noting that while more persons are using alternative services such as Punto Mio, El Mas Rapidito, DHL and Western Union, the workload at the post office continues to decrease.
“If you just keep the number of employees that they have, you have a payroll that is way too high to sustain income of the Post Office. For the Post Office to survive they need to the change the entire structure there and there are preparations to do so. Unless this takes place, the Post Office will continue to suffer losses basically every day and every month,” Marlin said.
The Prime Minister said planning and discussions have started to help find a solution on the way forward for PSS. These include talks with another entity to assist or take over the local postal operations. “That is one of the options that was there,” Marlin said noting that parties were unable to meet earlier due to scheduling issues, but noted that parties are now trying to synchronise a meeting date that is suitable and beneficial to both sides.
He said also that interest has been expressed by another party about addressing the issues plaguing the facility. Marlin said the situation with PSS is a sensitive one as it involves employees. “It’s a matter of down-scaling the operations of the post office. The operations have already downscaled. If persons are not mailing or receiving [a certain – Ed.] amount of mails then it requires fewer people to deliver mails,” the Prime Minister said noting that the issues are complicated.
PSS had said recently that it had been struggling financially for several years and has been losing some NAf. 80,000 monthly almost from the time it came into existence on October 15, 2011. PSS said at the time that it was seeking Government’s support in several areas. One of its issues of concern was the building in Philipsburg is uninsured and it has not made any headway in obtaining the building and the lease property transferred from Government despite an agreement to do so in 2012.
Source: The Daily Herald, St. Maarten