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Published 9th August 2006, 11:11am

In what is seen as an historic move for the postal service in the Cayman Islands, a new seven-digit alphanumeric postcode system is being introduced, to take effect on Wednesday 9th August 2006.

As of this date, the Post Office, also known as the Postal Department, will change its name to the Cayman Islands Postal Service (CIPS), as "part updating the image of the Post Office."

Postmaster General, Ms. Sheena Glasgow noted that the seven-digit postcode is being implemented to facilitate better sorting of mail and to expedite delivery of mail. It is expected that proper use of this system will help to reduce the instances of undeliverable mail caused by improper addressing. Additionally, postcodes will assist businesses and residents with online transactions including placing internet orders.

"As for the name change, the launch of the postcode seems the perfect time to formally recognize and emphasize that we are a postal service which comprises numerous post office facilities," Ms. Glasgow explained.

"It is a never-ending challenge for the CIPS to deliver the mail accurately and on time. However, since the implementation of the house numbering and street addressing system, the instances of people using a street address for mail delivery continues to grow each year. Through this campaign on how to properly use the postcode and address mail, we hope to reeducate our population across all three islands. Ideally, each person will then spread the message on how to properly address mail for the Cayman Islands to the people they communicate with internationally," Ms. Glasgow stated.

At present, the postcodes focus on mail for post office box delivery. However, the Postal Service has made provision for the postcode to accommodate home delivery, if this becomes a future development. In addition, buildings such as the Government Administration Building and large companies can apply for their own unique postcode.

Because mail is delivered via private letterboxes and there is no home delivery of mail in the Cayman Islands other than by express service, for the Postal Service to effectively deliver the mail, there must be a P O Box reference included in the address. This applies to postal services on all three islands.

Under the new system, each customer will be issued with a postcode with seven characters that start by identifying each of the three islands. For instance KY1 is for Grand Cayman, KY2 is for Cayman Brac and KY3 is for Little Cayman. The other characters establish the locations of the 15 post offices or postal agencies located on the three islands and the last two characters indicate the section where the box is located.

All addresses should be in title case and in English, which is the official language of the Cayman Islands. The name of the island and postcode should always appear on the same line. The postcode should be in upper case and be separated from the name of the island by two spaces. The first three elements of the postcode are separated from the last four numbers by a single hyphen. The last line of the address block should always be the name of the country in upper case (CAYMAN ISLANDS).

Ms. Glasgow advised that Cayman residents do not have to contact their electricity company, bank or other service providers with their new postcodes, as the CIPS has already contacted these organisations.

But she stressed that every resident should take note of their new postcode - and use it. "We'll increasingly find that businesses and other organisations will require the inclusion of a postcode - especially when delivery addresses are needed for the likes of online transactions. The sooner residents begin using their postcode and properly addressing their mail, the sooner the Postal Service will begin to realize the benefits it brings to mail sorting and effective delivery," she advised.

"I would also like to inform the public to look for a variety of promotional items through their post boxes and various media, to help them remember their new postcodes. Customers may also refer to our new website to assist with the process." Ms Glasgow said.