Guthertz: AG Opinion Suggests Military Must Allow & Pay for Local Customs Cargo Inspections

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Guam – Senator Judi Guthertz believes that an  opinion  from the Guam  Attorney  General will require the  U.S. military to pay “cost recovery fees” to Guam Customs and Quarantine when the agency performs inspections of cargoes  at island bases and ports, including airports.

The opinion was signed by Assistant AG Monty R. May and, according to the Senator, it makes it clear that “DoD contractors can’t use military unit addresses to avoid paying Guam use taxes or customs cost recovery charges.” 

Read the AG’s Opinion                         

In a release, the Senator states that the opinion also states that DoD and/or military officials can not “deny local customs officials from boarding   military  ships  or  planes  for  agricultural  inspection  or  clearance,  though  there  are exceptions to protect classified material, according to the opinion.” 

In the past, according to Director of Customs and Quarantine Dennis Santo Tomas, some military  commanders  have  asserted  that  U.S.  sovereign  immunity  exempted  military vessels from boarding and inspection, as well as the associated fees assessed by these federally mandated activities.  

The number of Guam customs venues have greatly expanded  in  recent  years  and  will  grow  even  further  as  the  Guam  military  buildup proceeds, making it important that such relationships be made clear.  

Guam Customs  and  Quarantine  Agency  is  under  the  oversight  of  Senator  Judi Guthertz’ Committee on the Military Buildup.