CQA mulls customs fee hike

Photo courtesy U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

GUAM – Acting Customs and Quarantine Director Ike Peredo is seeking to raise customs fees to fund his plan to beef up the agency’s manpower.

“First let me explain there’s two funding sources for customs one is the airport and the other is the cargo and maritime inspections,” Peredo said in an interview with K57.

“Based on my estimations the passenger fee is $8.29 right now; that will probably increase to $11.50 to $12.”

The increase in the cargo and maritime fees are not as clear cut as it is dependent on weight of cargo among other factors.

However, the primary objective for Peredo is to fund a container inspection facility which the port currently lacks.

The agency’s recruitment plan was prompted by the 2018 Transition Advisory Committee’s findings that most GovGuam agencies are undermanned.

At CQA, Peredo is projecting the force size that is needed to increase proficiency and adequately police the island’s entry points.

Currently staffing 102 officers, Peredo said his assessments the adequate force size for CQA calls for 278 officers an increase of 176 or nearly triple the current manning.

That fortification of the customs force may be unattainable by next year but Peredo is setting realistic goals that he will request to be met in FY 2020.

Those goals include hiring 55 new officers for airport operations, 40 for posts inside the airport such as the inspection counters and 15 for outside support officers assigned to the Contraband Enforcement Team, and 10 new officers for the port.