Mail broached in Trinidad arrives
Most virtually destroyed
Stabroek News
February 21, 2002

The letters for Guyana from England that were found dumped off a highway near the Santa Rosa Racetrack in Trinidad arrived in Guyana yesterday morning and officials at the Guyana Post Office Corporation (GPOC) are now trying to see what could be salvaged and to inform the addressees.

The damaged mail was delivered to Guyana in four large plastic bags and yesterday afternoon officials from the post office, who included Assistant Postmaster General, Marketing and Customer Relations, Leon Dickson and Customer Relations Officer, Howard Lorrimer, were sorting it.

The mail had been transported on BWIA flights from London and broached on arrival in Trinidad and Tobago.

The discovery, which was made last November, was said to have validated Guyana's claim of malpractice with mail transiting Trinidad via BWIA. The GPOC has since asked the UK postal authorities and they have agreed to bypass BWIA and utilise another airline to convey the mail to Barbados, then onward to Guyana.

When the four plastic bags were open yesterday the mail had a repugnant odour and most of the pieces were completely destroyed. The mail included photos, postcards, cheques, postal orders, cheque books, documents and numerous letters.

Asked about compensation for persons who might be affected, Dickson yesterday said that since the mail never arrived at the GPOC it would not be liable. He said that when the addressees were notified they would have to inform the senders, who could then go to the UK post offices and make their claims.

Dickson pinned down the problem to BWIA at the Trinidad airport, as he said that was where the rifling occurred whenever there was mail from London. He said on many occasions there were complaints about letters missing whenever the mail was in-transit in Trinidad. At the moment the UK postal services are using Virgin Atlantic Airline to fly mail to Barbados. From there, the mail is brought to Guyana via a BWIA flight.

According to Dickson, the post office had also experienced similar problems with mail coming from Canada and that country would now be using Air Canada to fly the mail to Barbados and then on to Guyana. He disclosed that there had also been problems with mail being posted from Trinidad to Guyana, especially if the mail was registered. It was apparent, from this, he said, that the persons who tampered with the mail were only looking for money as most of the other items were intact.

Dickson said that BWIA officials in Trinidad and the Trinidad Postal Administration have said that they were continuing their investigations. (Samantha Alleyne)