The impending changes with the introduction of an e-litigation portal will cut revenues at the Grenada Postal Corporation (GPC) by at least 70%, according to Director of Post Isaac Bhagwan.
“Over 70% of our revenue comes from stamp sales to the legal fraternity,” he told The Grenadian Voice on Wednesday, adding that the GPC had recently requested a design for a $1,000 stamp in response to appeals from lawyers. Currently, the largest denomination is $100.
Speaking at the August 28 sitting of the House of Representatives, Minister of Legal Affairs Kindra Maturine-Stewart said the Supreme Court Fees Bill 2020 makes provisions to eliminate requirements for high court documents to be filed on paper, which means “there will no longer be a need to affix postage stamps to documents.”
Under Grenada’s Supreme Court Fees Act, the only way by which court fees are payable is through the purchase of postage stamps, which are then affixed to court documents. Minister Maturine-Stewart said the bill allows for payment of court fees and other associated costs to be made “by means other than by stamps,” such as credit card, cash, cheque, debit card as well, “where necessary, by stamps.”
Anticipating this significant loss in revenue once the bill becomes law, the Corporation is looking forward to having a Public Private Partnership (PPP), which has been pursued by the government for several years. The Corporation conducted a user survey in 2019 that identified several services the public would like to see. These include stocking stationery, shipping supplies and other items for sale at postal stations, providing more shipping and logistics support, money orders and even having coffee shops.
“The issue of a call centre was another business suggestion for the Corporation to get into,” he added.
Bhagwan said that there are examples around the world of products that postal services are offering and with the support of a PPP, such services could be part of the GPC. Minister of Public Utilities Gregory Bowen said the government is pursuing a PPP for the Corporation “very, very strenuously.”
He told the press on Tuesday that a new board of directors “has been instituted” and one of the first tasks will be to put out a “handbook” for achieving a PPP. He noted that the government “came close” before to establishing such a partnership “but we have to be careful” as a lot of people did not like a partnership between the post office and one courier.
He noted that the Postal Corporation Act was amended to allow to the Corporation to “participate in any legitimate business” such as limited banking. He said some private businesses have shown interest but “none have signed on the dotted lines” to partner with the Corporation.