(Research was provided by the late Mr. Lloyd Weekes, Postmaster General from 1983-1985)
Barbados joined the Postal Union (the predecessor of today’s Universal Postal Union or UPU) in 1881, which makes the island one of the Organisation’s longest serving members.
However, when Barbados gained independence from the United Kingdom on November 30th 1966, the island assumed responsibility for its international postal affairs, which were previously the responsibility of the United Kingdom. This new status also meant that Barbados was admitted to the United Nations, thus becoming eligible for full membership of the Universal Postal Union (UPU), as a new entity.
The UPU is a non-political organisation that serves as the primary forum for co-operation between postal services around the globe. With a mission to develop social, cultural and commercial communication between people through the efficient operation of the postal service, the UPU plays an important role in promoting the continued revitalisation of postal services.
One of the Organisation’s functions is to ensure a truly universal network of up-to-date products and services.
The UPU also fulfils an advisory, mediating and liaison role, and renders technical assistance as needed. It sets the rules for international mail exchanges and makes recommendations to stimulate growth in mail volumes and to improve the quality of service to customers.
Barbados is highly esteemed at the highest decision-making level of international postal affairs having served on the Universal Postal Union’s (UPU) Council of Administration, one of its very influential bodies, and the one which ensures the continuity of the work of the UPU between Congresses.
Following the 22nd Universal Postal Union’s Congress in Beijing, People’s Republic of China, Barbados served as the Vice Chairman of the Council of Administration (CA) for two consecutive terms. During this period, Barbados played an integral part in the process of reforming postal administrations.
Then, at the 25th Universal Postal Union Congress in Doha, Qatar, in October 2012, in addition to election to the Council of Administration once more, Barbados was elected to Chair the Committee on Co-operation and Development, with France as the Vice Chair.
This Committee has the task of implementing the UPU’s development co-operation strategy, which addresses: ongoing UPU efforts in the areas of postal sector reform and governance; continued implementation of technical assistance programmes specifically for the least developed countries, island nations and landlocked countries; strengthening of the UPU’s training policy to guarantee the sustainability of co-operation activities; implementing an emergency assistance mechanism; and the UPU presence in the field.
Five Sub-Committees report to the Committee on Co-operation and Development. These are: the Technical and Co-operation and Postal Sector Development Project Group, the Postal Sector Macroeconomics Project Group, the Sustainable Development Project group, the Postal Financial Inclusion Project Group, and the Postal Trade Facilitation for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Business Development Group.
In general, the Council of Administration supervises the activities of the UPU and oversees regulatory, administrative, legislative and legal issues. It comprises 41 member countries and meets annually at the Headquarters of the UPU in Berne.
To ensure that the UPU is able to react quickly to changes in the postal environment, the CA has the power to approve proposals by the Postal Operations Council (the UPU’s technical and operational body) for the adoption of regulations or new procedures between Congresses.