Guatemala’s postal agency, El Correo de Guatemala, has suddenly suspended service, leaving more than 600 of its employees in limbo.
The sudden service stoppage is the result of years of wrangling between the government and the mailing service agency over the extension of its contract.
In 2014, El Correo requested that the government extend its contract to five more years. After putting the proposal on hold for two long years, in April this year the Congress voted not to extend the contract.
Finally, last Wednesday, the agency ceased its operation, notifying all its employees of its inability to continue the service. Reports say the company has even kick-started the process of returning movable and immovable properties to the government.
To restore the Guatemala postal service, the government has to either extend the contract or hire a new agency to carry out the job.
Officials say they will need at least two months to put the contract out to tender. The Directorate General of Post and Telegraphs (DGCT) has made it clear that it does not have enough resources to take over the job.
It seems the agency – which delivered 17.3 million letters, 8,773 telegrams, and 71.556 small packages last year – has long been on a collision course with the government. A few months ago, the Directorate General of Posts and Telegraphs slapped the agency with a hefty fine for violating terms of the contract.
It is not clear why the government did not invite fresh bids for appointing a new agency nor extended the contract for El Correo, despite being aware of the importance of the Guatemala postal service.