Why Christmas cards arrived this summer?

| 08/08/2019 | 16 Comments

Last week three Christmas cards arrived in my Cayman Brac post office box, two from within the Cayman Islands and one from the UK. While it’s always fun to get Christmas mail in the middle of summer, I’m very curious about where it’s been all this time. Are there deep dark corners of the postal service where whole sacks of mail go missing for six months? And should I be telling friends that if they want to send me a card this year, they should probably be mailing it about now?


Ask Auntie, CNS Local Life, Caymanian status

Auntie’s answer: I have heard many stories over the years about difficulties in receiving letters here or mail never arriving at its overseas destination. On more than one occasion packages sent to me in Cayman have taken a detour to Guyana (that whole George Town vs Georgetown thing, that friends and family abroad don’t always take to heart).

However, six-month-old Christmas cards are a whole new level of belated.

For help with this issue, I went right to Postmaster General Sheena Glasgow, who, as with previous post office questions, responded almost immediately (if only the mail was that fast!).

After thanking the reader for highlighting this issue, she apologised “for the excessively slow delivery of the Christmas cards”. Instead of summarising the rest of her response, I thought it best to include it in full here:

Frankly, it is embarrassing and not at all the level of customer service for which the Cayman Islands Postal Service strives, but delays do happen; some are within our control and some are not. For the local cards, that would appear to be our error so I will fully own that. The factors which likely contributed to this delay were already being addressed, and the situation is being monitored. As for the UK card, from time to time such mail takes a very circuitous transportation route getting to Grand Cayman. Until it arrives in Grand Cayman, it is outside our direct control.  

The Postmaster General would like to assure the writer that the CIPS does not have ‘deep dark corners of the postal service where whole sacks of mail go missing for six months’. Again, apologies for the slow delivery of these Christmas cards, and assurances that the CIPS will continue to strive to do better.”

Based on Ms Glasgow’s response, I feel there is reason for optimism that this year’s locally posted Christmas cards will arrive on time in your Brac postbox. However, it sounds like it will still be hit or miss on cards from the UK, so my suggestion is you advise your UK-based friends and family to send out those greetings as early as possible.

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Category: Ask Auntie, Misc Questions

Comments (16)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The post office needs a major retail. Even after 10 years , the state reins awalful.Under the PMG,she will talk about years in future of delivery in years. Does she also work for courier companies.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I don’t think she understands how mail is tracked in the UK and other countries. Otherwise, she wouldn’t dare to be pointing the finger of blame. I have had so much mail disappear or take literally months to arrive here. It leaves UK shores promptly, is tracked all the way to Cayman then disappears into an abyss. I have stopped people from sending stuff now. It’s bad enough that local mail takes 3 weeks to arrive. I mean, seriously, WTF?

    • Anonymous says:

      I recently received a christmas card that took 2.5 YEARS to arrive. It was properly stamped and addressed.
      And I just received a local bill by mail, dated Feb 1 this year.
      Somebody should be very embarrassed but i’m not holding my breath.

  3. Anonymous says:

    It is amazing that so many find so much wrong with Cayman, yet you can’t pay them to leave. They would prefer that the natives do. In fact I believe that is their biggest gripe; too many natives running things in government.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Too true. But imagine how cool Cayman might be if it was run by professional expats:
      Bus services in and to every district, no stupid cruise ship dock, fewer 300 lb USA monster tourists roaming around GT, good schools and good trade schools, elimination of the dump and proper recycling, only controlled building development and the environment considered at every turn. Some of that could be immediate, half of the remainder could be done in five years and the rest within 10. Massive savings on costs through denying graft and influence peddling. Oh and everyone working within a meritocracy but with a cap on work permits. Simples :~)

  4. Grain of Sand says:

    In April this year I received a Christmas Card from Scotland posted last October; ‘miss-sent to India’ was stamped on the envelope, presumably because it had ‘British West Indies’ as the last line of the address. Not the fault of the C.I. Post Office, obviously; but an envelope I posted on the Brac in 2016 still hasn’t arrived at the Airport P.O. in Grand Cayman.

  5. Anonymous says:

    She has little to work with. The post office is a dumping ground for incompetent and dysfunctional civil service employees. Just be happy that you have email.

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  6. Anonymous says:

    Didn’t they win a lovely award a few years back that 20 people had to fly to Egypt to collect

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  7. Anonymous says:

    It is cover up story… I had a letter post in George town stamp dated and it took nearly 3 weeks to deliver west bay Po box! If they can’t deliver 7 miles never mind thousand of miles.

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  8. Anonymous says:

    I didn’t know that Ms.Glasgow is also a Deputy Election Supervisor. Does she have an expertise in any field, backed by education or just a Jack of all trades (and master of none)? May be she is holding too many jobs since Postal Service is a complete mess? Someone has to question certificate of excellence from the Qatar postal conference she attended.

    Not happy with postal service to Canada https://cnslocallife.com/2016/08/not-happy-postal-service-canada/

    Auditors issue scathing review of postal service https://www.caymancompass.com/2015/01/07/auditors-issue-scathing-review-of-postal-service/
    Records shredded; $250,000 bust; mismanagement; stamps missing. “This is considerable frustration that the instruction continues to be ignored by certain officers,” Ms. Glasgow said.

    How long excuses would be accepted?

    FYI:
    Ms. Glasgow is a 20-year veteran of the Civil Service. For the past 10 years, she has headed the Cayman Islands Postal Service as Postmaster General. Prior to her tenure with the Postal Service, she worked in the former Ministry of Planning, Communications, Works, and Information Technology and at Radio Cayman where her Civil Service career began as a Clerical Officer. Considering herself to be a career civil servant at heart, Ms. Glasgow said she is honoured by the new role, and expects it to be a very challenging one. “We have only just begun to see the impact of recent constitutional changes on Cayman’s political landscape, so the role of the Elections Office in overseeing future electoral processes will remain an important one.”

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    • Anonymous says:

      It is not enough to be “a career civil servant at heart”, one has to actually know what he/she is doing.
      “This is considerable frustration that the instruction continues to be ignored by certain officers,” statement coming out of Postmaster General clearly indicates that this person is not qualified for the position she holds.

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  9. Anon says:

    We have ALL had mail which takes months to arrive and it is 100% the fault of the CI Post Office. I was astounded to hear that, in the U.K., they rely on the Post Office to actually deliver letters and parcels and this works in practice!!! In Cayman it is definitely a lottery, which is fun unless, you know, you need your letter to get there.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I have asked my friends not to send me anything by mail to Cayman. I have seen no improvement in 20 years. My Christmas cards and gift arrived in early May. Usually it is February or March.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    The “it’s the UK’s fault” excuse doesn’t really fly since all three cards arrived at the same time. Also, British postal service is excellent. CIPS, not so much.

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  11. Anonymous says:

    They empty the big mail sack on to a table to sort, if any fall mail falls to the floor it gets kicked under the table rather than picked up and there it stays until the next hurricane season comes around when they are doing hurricane / flood prep and it finally gets picked up and sorted. That’s how it goes.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Doesn’t explain how 3 cards mailed from different destinations at different times arrived at the same time. Excuses, this one and the previous one (printed notices picked up by wrong people) are lame. They think people are idiots to believe it. Thorough investigation must be lunched by the appropriate agencies. Total overhaul of CIPS might be overdue. National postal service is a serious business with serious responsibilities to be run by unskilled amateurs. It’s appears, despite of what Sheena Glasgow says, to be dysfunctional.

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