Conference of the Caribbean Postal Union

Remarks by UPU Director General Bishar A. Hussein, Hamilton, Bermuda, 8 - 12 September 2014

It gives me great pleasure to be with you today at this 17th Annual Conference of the Caribbean Postal Union.

I am glad I have finally found the opportunity to visit this paradise island of Bermuda. I took time out yesterday afternoon to sample this beautiful island and came to the conclusion that you have a true gem here. A tropical paradise of unparalleled beauty. Please keep it simple as nature had always wanted it to be.

During the past month, I visited a couple of countries and engaged with government ministers responsible for Posts, CEOs of Posts and regulatory organizations as well as restricted unions to discuss the new developments and trends in the postal sector, to understand their challenges, share their experiences and to update them on the work the UPU International Bureau has been doing to provide innovative solutions and support to member states.

I have come here today to do the same. It is only through such interactions that we at the International Bureau can assess your progress, understand your challenges and develop meaningful programs to support your needs. This kind of forum also provides me with the opportunity to meet with the CEOs of Posts individually or collectively to sort out country-specific or regional issues. I look forward to fruitful meetings with you.

I have gone through the agenda and theme of this conference and cannot agree more on their relevance and timeliness. Indeed, your approach is in tandem with what is going on in other regions and the current UPU’s global postal strategy. I look forward to your successful deliberations.

In my previous interactions with you, the need to enhance human resource capacity and competence was your big concern. In this regard, I instructed the directorate of technical cooperation in the International Bureau to give sufficient emphasis to this need.

I am happy to report that we have this year conducted two training programs, one on the logistics and supply chain quality improvement project, with customs issues addressed in March. We have another one planned on transportation and delivery next week. A module on postal security and one on domestic operations are scheduled for 2015.

I have the pleasure to officially announce here that the long-awaited Caribbean Postal Training Centre is going to became a reality before the end of this month when we shall launch it in Barbados. I do believe that this will address most of your HR needs.

I take this opportunity to thank the Barbados government and its postal authority for agreeing to host this training centre for the region and for availing invaluable space. I also thank the CPU executive, the UPU regional coordinator and my team in the IB for putting together this historic centre in Barbados. I will encourage all governments and postal organizations of the region to support the centre and make good use of it.

I hasten to add that setting up the training centre is only a first step. The real challenge is how to sustain it. We do not have much resource in the IB. However, I am optimistic that the major countries with historical, political, cultural and commercial links with this region here present will take my appeal to support the training centre.

In this regard, I want to thank France who will support the funding of the training programme on sustainable development in November this year. The training of trainers programme will create a multiplier effect when the course will be replicated in all your postal organizations.

I am informed that postal training is required at all levels of operations and management cadres. I am also aware that many experienced people may soon be retiring or have already left. Staff development and succession planning is therefore critical in this highly sophisticated technical postal business.

I have mandated the Directorate for Development and Technical Cooperation of the UPU to start discussions with the Open University of the West Indies for implementation of an HR development program at the beginning of the next cycle.

I am also exploring the possibilities of getting some training scholarships for CEOs and senior officers from this region and will communicate as soon as they materialize.

During my bilateral discussions with most CEOs in my last visit to this region, I gathered that most of the organizations have a serious shortage of basic postal equipment and tools for their operations. I have subsequently asked my regional coordinator to conduct a survey to establish the requirements.

I am informed that X-ray scanners, computers, vehicles, motorcycles, and facility protection are top priorities of a long list of requirements. The IB will analyse these in order to develop a business case with which to approach potential donors. I can’t make promises but I am always optimistic.

E-commerce has become the new engine for developing the postal sector, and two directorates at the International Bureau are cooperating to produce a short handbook—‘recipe book’—for designated operators showing what works, why it works and how to implement e-commerce. I hope you will be able to make use of the information once it is available as you endeavour to develop your electronic postal and financial services.

The responsibilities of the Post go beyond delivery of postal and financial services to the citizen. We do play a big part in global, regional, and national efforts to advance the well-being of society. In 2010, UPU supported the worldwide HIV awareness campaign

As you may be aware, there is a looming health crisis in the Caribbean from the spread of chikungunya virus by mosquitos. The virus, we are told, can incapacitate its victims and may even cause lasting disabilities. However, there are steps that all of us can take to reduce the risk.

In conjunction with the Pan American Health Organization, the UPU has now developed a public awareness campaign to fight the spread of the disease that I urge you to support. I am pleased to unveil today a campaign poster. You will each receive an electronic version to which you can add your logo and thereafter print for each post office. This small measure will certainly go a long way to mitigate the risk and enhance the social responsibility credentials of the Post and the UPU.

I know I will have closer interaction with most of you during my stay here to discuss the postal business. In the meantime, I wish you fruitful deliberations at this 17th Annual Conference of the CPU and look forward to a continued cooperation with all members of the CPU.

Thank you once again for inviting me to your conference.