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Marshall Islands Journal Majuro, Marshall Islands

April 26, 2001


Last week’s Chamber of Commerce meeting put a needed spotlight on our mail delivery service in RMI. A combination of U.S. Postal Service, RMI Postal Service and airline officials gamely fielded a lot of questions and complaints about mail delivery service.

In the end, it boiled down to this: the mail is getting to Majuro from Hawai‘i and Guam (with the occasional hiccup of charter flight mechanicals). But all the mail, including urgent express mail, isn’t getting into customers’ boxes on time. Consider this: the day after the Chamber meeting a Hawai‘i postal official went to the Majuro Post Office with our local Post Office staff with a list of overdue letters and packages provided by one customer. After a couple of hours of searching through the Post Office, under boxes and tables, behind stacks of mail, etc., all of the long-overdue letters and packages were found; they were here, in the Post Office.

Clearly it’s not reasonable to bring in a U.S. postal supervisor to search for mail in the Majuro Post Office, nor is it acceptable for this situation to continue. No matter how hard the staff may be working – and we can attest to the fact that they work weekends – the situation and the system they are in is the problem.

Obviously there’s a problem that is in need of serious attention. What does the RMI Post Office need? A new facility? Reorganization and new systems for sorting and handling mail? New policies and practices so that when customers arrive at 8:30 in the morning, counter staff have change and stamps? These and other measures? No single one of these items listed above will do the job. It will take a combination of efforts. But first it’s going to take the national government – that’s the Ministry of Finance, which has responsibility for the RMI Post Office – deciding that, yes, this essential service needs to get attention, resources and action.

One way to get some solid recommendations for action is to appoint an independent panel to address the concerns of the public and the management of the Post Office. How about a panel of the Secretary of Finance, the Chief Secretary and three private sector representatives for a review?

Like shipping to the outer islands, mail delivery is an essential service. Let’s treat it as such.

The Marshall Islands Journal, Box 14, Majuro, Marshall Islands 96960 E-mail:  Subscriptions (weekly): 1 year US $87.00; international $213.00 (air mail).

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