New security measures for mail, air cargo to the US
The Barbados government says it has been advised by the US Department of Homeland Security and other United States agencies that they have implemented a number of measures "to enhance existing security procedures for screening inbound airmail and cargo to the US".
A Barbados Government Information Service statement said the local postal agency has been informed by the US Transportation Security Administration (TSA), that all mail intended for dispatch on passenger and cargo aircraft to the US must be screened and mail will encounter a pre-determined 'cooling' period prior to its dispatch.
"In addition, it is the airlines' responsibility to ensure the security measures mandated by the DHS are implemented. Toner and ink cartridges will be prohibited on passenger aircraft; and all cargo identified as high-risk will go through additional and enhanced screening, including inbound international mail packages, which must be screened individually and certified to have come from an established postal shipper," the statement said.
The Barbados Postal Service said the action by the TSA has impacted negatively on mail services worldwide and as a result "all classes of mail to and from Barbados would encounter delays and would continue to do so indefinitely".
"With regard to our Express Mail Service to the USA, it will continue to be given priority treatment but we can no longer offer our customers guaranteed delivery times as a result of the above. Therefore, it will inevitably be delayed."
Rules on labelling
The Postal Service is reminding customers that as a result of the US directive and in order to expedite local mail going through foreign customs, each item must have a completed customs declaration form or commercial invoices for items containing merchandise.
"Furthermore, counter staff personnel must ensure that vague entries such as '$0 value', 'household items', 'no commercial value', and 'personal effects' are not used as they do not reveal the exact nature of contents," the statement said.
"These measures come in the wake of a failed terrorist attack to conceal and ship improvised explosive devices on an aircraft destined for the US on October 28 last year," BGIS added.
On Sunday, the TSA said it was suspending all air cargo to and from Jamaica for a 72-hour period after receiving what it termed a credible threat that an explosive device could be placed on a flight from the country.
Officials from Jamaica's Civil Aviation Authority say they were advised of the emergency measure after an Air Jamaica plane was delayed Sunday night at the Fort Lauderdale Airport in Florida as a precaution ahead of the implementation of the three-day suspension of cargo on flights.