Feb. 28, 2004 Days after Virgin Islands Congressional Delegate Donna M. Christiansen held her latest meeting with residents on problems with the postal system in the V.I., postal officials from both St. Thomas and San Juan huddled with the business community to discuss improvements and reform of the system.
The postal officials acknowledged that public complaints about service in the territory is nothing new, but said they have a plan aimed at bringing about a turnaround. "One of the bigger concerns right now from customers is about delivery," Louis A. Jackson, V.I. postmaster, said. The focus of a quarterly postal council meeting was proper addressing of mail leaving and arriving in the territory. "That is what we need the help of the public on," Jackson said.
The emphasis is being placed on how mail is addressed because the bulk of letters, periodicals and packages are now being sorted at automated processing centers in Puerto Rico. "The address has to be clear and accurate," Jackson said as he explained to the 25 or so persons attending the meeting that the address block should be in "all capital letters with no punctuation." He also said that correct abbreviations are also important for such words as: Boulevard, Avenue, Route and Street. Officials warned that if the guidelines are not followed, there will be a delay in mail arriving here from its originating point. "The state abbreviation for the Virgin Islands is VI with no punctuation. The postal system does not recognize, USVI for example," Roy Benjamin of the U.S. Postal Service, said
Residents at the meeting complained about the time it takes for parcel post to arrive in the territory. Jackson reminded customers that such mail must be trucked to Jacksonville or New Jersey before it is barged to the Virgin Islands. "This is a process that could take up to eight weeks." But Jackson said even if other shipping methods other than parcel post is used, there is simply no guarantee that the mail will get to its destination sooner,
"We have three gateways of mail coming to us, and then we have to deal with surface, air, water and finally delivery." Jackson said although there are chronic problems in the system presently, the post office is doing its best to improve service to residents in the Virgin Islands.
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