Acting Postmaster General Michael Gentles.
The recent terrorist plot to blow up several aircraft in the United Kingdom and the rising demand for global security may eventually influence changes in mail regulations regarding content and packaging. Acting Postmaster General/CEO Michael Gentles has warned.
Speaking to The Gleaner/Power 106FM News Centre, he indicated that one possible development on the heels of the foiled bomb plot is that all packages intended for the mail may be subject to visual scrutiny.
"What now exists is that persons hand in a sealed package at the postal counter. The customer service rep (CSR) checks that the declaration form is completed, checks the weight to determine the cost, and then places the item in the mail dispatch.
He cited the possibility that, "We may be expected to become the first line of defence, so to speak, as customers may be asked to present all mail to the CSR for visual confirmation before being sealed. This visual inspection would precede the series of confidential security screening checks that occur after being handed to the CSR."
The postal chief commented that such a change would match the existing scenario with the Express Mail Service (EMS) - an international delivery-certain product with Internet tracking - in which customers present the contents to the CSR for inspection. The CSR then places items in an EMS-branded self-sealing pouch.
Gentles stated that the likely impact of this is that there may be an increase in the time required for each transaction. Also, if these measures are implemented, then customers could be asked to carry tape and seal their own packages. Alternatively, the postal service may find itself having to respond to customers' needs by retailing packaging materials.
Another possible development is with regard to content restrictions.
"No immediate modifications to content regulations have yet been announced, but given the drastic revisions to passenger carry-on luggage, some may carry over to the mail portfolio of airline restrictions," Gentles added.
He indicated that such issues have surfaced in international fora at the regional level through the Caribbean Postal Union, in which he was recently elected secretary general, as well as at the Universal Postal Union, the branch of the United Nations that regulates postal affairs across the globe.
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