Reader’s Letter: “A plague at the Post N.V.”

POSTED: 02/25/11 12:51 PM

Dear Editor,

Please permit me space to express my opinion and concerns on various issues that are a plague to our island, St. Maarten.

As a son of the soil, as we put it, and having lived abroad for many years I am now faced with constant inner conflict of in reference to me wanting to move back to St. Maarten. After reading this letter you will understand my conflict. I have been residing in Europe for some time now and because I’m fortunate to be in a position that can allow me to travel frequently back and forth, I visit St. Maarten on an average of five to six times per year.

I’m always hearing our critics say things like, “they want to bring Europe and the USA to St. Maarten and they have to remember that we are a SMALL island (country) in the Caribbean. Does this mean that it’s ok to be behind with the times and does it mean that we have to settle for mediocrity?

On February 15, 2011 at 12 noon I entered the Philipsburg Post Office as I needed to use the services of Money Gram. Mind you Money Gram is a service that the Post Office provides and they make an average of US $15 per transaction. Due to no fault of the single casher that was open, the queue had approximately 15 people in front of me, another five that had just entered. On enquiring with the Security Guard I was informed that the reason for only one cashier being open was that the other one was on lunch. Mind you, the Post Office on Dutch SXM is supposed to be the national Post Office, so to speak. At lunch time, taking into consideration that many people frequent the Post Office while they are on their lunch break, wouldn’t it be logical to have it properly manned?

At 12:40 p.m I had moved up to the number five position. After carefully observing the area, I had observed that Mr. Charlie had been looking out the window on several occasions, but still did nothing to assist with the poor service. Ms. A Wilson whom I later found out was the person in charge (Supervisor) was actually sitting with Mr. Charlie for 30 of those minutes having a personal conversation, while obviously not bothered. In the modern world a supervisor should be able to replace a staff member, when it’s busy and should be proactive in overseeing an operation.

1:00 p.m. – Third in line – Because the lone cashier that was open constantly kept getting up from her position to say something to another colleague and constantly kept checking her Blackberry, she made an error on someone’s papers, where she misspelled their name. Again I waited with many others in the qeue, while this matter was being dealt with. At this point Miss A. Wilson was walking back and forth as if trying to figure what her next move should be. The security that is being paid to secure the place, maintained his ground, by not getting agitated with the many people that kept asking him what was going on. Why isn’t there an information desk? By having keen ears I was able to hear them asking some simple questions, and his response was, “O sorry you need to stand in line to ask questions.

1:20 p.m. Another cashier finally opened up and called the next person in line. I was then the 2nd in line and started to feel hopeful that I would be out of the Post Office. Whilst all of this was taking place a gentleman walked in and stood at the side and it was obvious that he was waiting. When the second cashier that had opened up finished with the person in front of her and I was walking up she said, O sorry I have to take this gentleman. What is this? Let’s help friends first when many others including myself were waiting for more than an hour?

1:40 p.m. – I finally heard next and walked forward as it was my turn. As my transaction was being completed, I enquired as to who was in charge of the Post Office. The kind lady, whom also had an attitude like, why are you asking me who was in charge spat out after I reiterated and asked her twice – Mr. Denicio Richardson.

Before composing this letter I asked around and was made to understand that this is the norm at the Post Office. Do we have to expect mediocrity because St. Maarten is a 37 square mile island? Mr. Denicio Richardson, if you’re unable to properly execute duties at the Post Office, do the Honorable thing and step aside and let a more capable person take up the responsibility. Ms. Wilson, it’s very nice to have a position of authority, but knowing what to do with that position is imperative. Do you know how inadequate and disgraceful it looked to be waiting in a queue for nearly two hours to send a Money Gram? In the nearly two hours that I stood waiting can you imagine how many people walked away and went to the Western Union even though their service charge is much higher? Do the math and average on how many people walked in and out, not being able to wait.

If I may make a recommendation to whoever is our local Commander in Chief. St. Maarten is our jewel of the Caribbean and many of us have lived to see her evolve from unpaved roads, one hotel, a one room post office etc. to where she is today. It takes centuries to build a country but minutes to destroy it. We knew that we were not ready for 10-10-10 but here we are. Let’s work together for a better future for our children.

In closing, I must stress the importance of we, the citizens of St. Maarten, voicing our opinions. We live in a democracy where we have a voice. Let’s start using it. We may be a SMALL 37 square mile island (now Country) but some of us are educated.

Now do you understand my conflict? How can I move back to St. Maarten and take four steps backwards? Do I just play dead and roll over and accept the saying, “O’ This is St. Maarten, That’s how it is!

C.A. Webster


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