By Jacob Nakamura
(Tumon, Guam) At least two companies with business licenses to retail sundries like hand sanitizers and protective face masks have had their shipments of these products seized by Guam Customs and told to wait for the public health director to clear their products for release.
The owners of these companies feel they are victims of unfair anti-trust business practices, as other retailers and distributors of these same products are getting their products in.
"I have a shipment of sanitizers confiscated by customs," one of the business owners told Kandit on condition of anonymity. He does not want the government to retaliate and hold his products even longer, and he's aware of at least three other businesses this is happening against. "DeNorcey wont sign off on releasing it. These sanitizers are already pre-sold to a customer to sell to the people which protects the people from germs, bacteria, the virus, etc. And Public Health is obstructing the free enterprise of business and protection of people by these sanitizers."
His company's shipment comprises 4,000 hand sanitizer units. It has been more than 10 days since his shipment arrived and was confiscated.
"A public health inspector cleared the shipment for release [to our customer] but needs [public health director Linda] DeNorcey's signature to approve the release so [our customer] can give us OUR shipment," the business owner said.
Ms. DeNorcey has the authority under the Emergency Health Powers Act to seize property if that property can be used to help mitigate the spread of disease in a public health emergency. She has exercised these powers by requiring an additional Customs declaration form at the borders, which requires merchants and people to declare the shipment of medical supplies, equipment, and pharmaceuticals upon entry to Guam.
The other company, RSR Guam, had four cases of its PPE seized at the airport and placed on Customs hold.