NEWS: Lou's customs bill contains suspicious provision

By Johnnie Rosario

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(Tumon, Guam) A bill submitted by the governor herself to the Guam Legislature will earmark 11 percent of use tax collections for a private contractor to inspect containers and collect the use taxes at the seaport.

Exactly how did the administration arrive at a predetermined cost figure of 11 percent of use tax collections?

"Senators who are not 'In' are wondering whether the governor already has a contractor in mind, otherwise how would she know exactly how much money this will cost prior to issuing any requests for information," a legislative staffer told Kandit News on condition of anonymity.

No procurement inquiry has been issued to determine how much this contract will cost. The scope of the program also is unknown from the language of the legislation, an issue Sen. James Moylan has raised with Gov. Lou Leon Guerrero in a letter to her today.

"The legislation lacks any clarity, since Bill 272-35 contains very vague language and does not provide any intent of objective. Since the document is ambiguous in nature, our first conjecture is that the legislation is being designed for a private entity who will be provided the full authority to inspect containers at the PAG via a Performance Management Contract, and would be compensated through the use tax collections. If this is the case, what assurance will be provided that conflicts of interest will not exist, or that this entity would have the same training that has been afforded to our CQA officers? Also, if this is the intention, wouldn’t it be more practical to allow CQA to just use the dedicated funds (as the legislation proffers) to pay for the equipment, and allow our CQA officers to conduct the inspections?" - Excerpt from Mr. Moylan's letter to Ms. Leon Guerrero today

Mr. Moylan, who generally supports public-private partnerships, is concerned about exposing the public to danger and corruption from the outsourcing of such an important function as the inspection of seaport cargo and the collection of the use tax.

"I find it odd that we would extend such a contract to a private entity, when we have officers who have taken a oath to protect our borders." - from Mr. Moylan's letter to Ms. Leon Guerrero

The senator is asking the governor for clarification on her bill, and assurances that it has been thought through. So are we.

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