The first post office was opened in 1861 though in 1824 a letter is said to have been “privately carried” to Europe. Until a boat service “Messagerie Maritime” took over the mail contract in 1866 mail to and from Seychelles could not be transported on a regular basis.
The earliest known letter using this service was dated April 1865. Colonial reports brought out the extreme communication difficulties though in 1877, the Mauritius Post Office reported that letters to and from Seychelles numbered 14,184.
The Post Office became autonomous from Mauritius in August 1982. It was in 1893 that the first local post office was introduced in Seychelles.
Non-commissioned offices in charge of the Police Station acted as receiving and dispatching officers. This service was stopped in July 1894 as it proved too much for them to cope.
In 1894, the new Administrator, Sweet Escot saw that the postal services needed improvement and introduced a new Inland Postal Service. The British India Steam Navigation Company also began a shipping contract in August 1895.
The quarantine of ships is said to affect mail from time to time. The local postal service covered the whole population of Mahe, Praslin, La Digue, including the outer islands. In 1965, this also included the British Indian Ocean Territory.
Airmail service was introduced in September 1932 but became effective in February 1938. The service was through Karachi and Nairobi.
The first civil flying machine to Seychelles was in June 1939 from Australia.
In 1948, the Royal Air Force established a base in Seychelles and the Catalina flying boat, operated flying services between Seychelles, Mauritius, Madagascar and Kenya. They carried mail in and out of Seychelles, but were authorized to censure mail for members of the armed forces.
In January 1953, East African Airway Corporation attempted to introduce the first airmail service with an amphibian aircraft from Kenya. The service was not economical and later withdrawn.
The United States Air force builds a satellite tracking station on Mahe in 1963 and introduced an amphibian service from Mombasa which carried first and second class airmail beginning August 1964.
Wilkenair introduced an airmail service in May 1970, which were followed by the opening of the international airport in 1971 and a weekly mail service introduced by BOAC in July 1971.
During World War 1 there were no regular censorship of civilian mail, but all correspondence to what was considered as enemy territory was examined by the Governor until near 1919.
During World War II censorship of mail, telegrams and newspaper began. The original sensors were Government Officers, Police Officers and retired Military Officers assisted by staff from Cable & Wireless for censorship of telegrams.
The Victoria Central Post office opened in 1861 as a sub-office of Mauritius and did not have postage stamps of its own and used that of Mauritius.
The new Postal Act is a modern Act and replace the Postal Act of 1803. The Act Makes provision for a:
- Anse Royale
- Grand Anse, Praslin
- Baie Ste Anne, Praslin
- La Digue
(1) Public Postal Operator with government owing majority shares.
(2) Licensing of Courier Services.
(3) Establishment of a Postal Regulator and..
(4) Various offences that can be commited under this Atc.
Globally, over the past 10 to 15 years the Postal Sector all over the world has been undergoing major reform. There are many reasons why this reform has taken place and the principal ones are:
(1) Reduction in the number of personal mail.
(2)The operations of a Post Office is more adaptable to that of a commercial organisation.
The reduction in personal mail are due to many factors and the most important being the advent of the:
(2) Mobile phone
This makes communication cheaper and faster and has had an impact on the need for personal mail.
However, the growth of commercial mail and parcel remain stable and in certain areas have increased. The latter is increasing due to the use of e-commerce where the delivery side is handles by the Postal Service.
It is inevitable that Seychelles is not left behind and time has come to commercial the operations of the Postal Services.
Seychelles is a member of the Universal Postal Union and a signatory to the Universal Postal Services where basic postal services such as accessibility, affordability are important.
The Act clearly defines what are the reserved services for the Public Postal Operator. Without this, other operators may want to only do business where they maximize profit and leave the difficult parts to the Public Postal Operator.
The Public Postal Operator will have to build the required capacity to formulate strategies into new products and services so as to generate new revenue.
(2) Sale of stationary
(3) Packages of parcels for tourists
(4) Money Transfers
(5) Fax and photocopy
(6) Hybrid mail, etc
This can best be done as a commercial organization under the companies Act.
As part of tits international obligation the postal service will also soon have to introduce;
(1) Tracking of parcels and Registered mail.
(2) Postal codes or house numbering system.
The new bill makes provision for a postal regulator who will regulate the postal service operator, postal courier and other services. Their responsibility will also be to settle disputes and promote fair competition within the postal sector.
The regulator will also have the responsibility to define the scope of universal postal services that the public postal operator will provide.
The bill also contains offences and penalties that can be committed under this Act which have been amended to take into account current developments.
Finally, this bill repeals the old Act and transfer relevant properties owed by government which are being used by the postal offices to the public postal operator.