Inspectors shut down vendors at old flea market
January 24, 2018
By Dana M Williams and Jojo Santo Tomas, Pacific Daily News
A group of government inspectors shut down vendors who didn't have appropriate permits and licenses at the old Dededo Flea Market Saturday morning.
Adults over the age of 21 can now use, carry, and buy up to an ounce of marijuana for non-medical use, and grow as many as six plants at home, without a doctor's letter.
Vendor Emilia Abando had already packed up and was heading out when the inspectors showed up.
"They went around and asked, 'Do you have a license to sell? If you don't have a license to sell, you have to shut down,'" she said.
The Department of Revenue and Taxation "is trying to make sure everyone who does business on Guam has the appropriate license," Governor's Communications Director Oyaol Ngirairikl said Saturday. "This morning's effort was part of that."
Initially there was an anonymous tip that tobacco products were being sold at the private flea market in Dededo, according to Rev and Tax Deputy Director Marie Benito. Eight inspectors and business license compliance officers went out to the flea market to investigate.
"While they were sweeping for the alleged tobacco products being sold, they found some businesses operating without businesses licenses," Benito said. "Those businesses were asked to either obtain a business license, or provide a copy by Monday if they said they just didnít have a copy of the business license on them at the time. None were fined. All were warned."
Benito said a peddler's license is required, and if food items are sold, a sanitary permit is needed. No license is required if only used goods are being sold, Benito said. No tobacco products were found.
Abando, who was upset by the situation, said the people at the flea market were just trying to make extra money.
"It's a new year. A lot of people want to clear out their house and make money," Abando said.
Among the vendors also asked to shut down was a woman who sold handmade wood carvings, a family who sold lumpia and barbecue sticks, and a man selling electronic gadgets and cleaning supplies. The latter said he did have a business license, and showed the government worker a picture of it on his phone, but was told it wasn't good enough.
Benito said the owners were very cooperative.
"We appreciate that while our task force conducts their inspection," she said.
Bob Cruz, owner of Brand Inc. which has operated the Dededo Flea Market for the last 12 years, says he was at home when his son Ken Lape called him and said that "Rev and Tax is here talking to people."
When he arrived, he learned that many vendors were told to close up shop.
"The regular ones I think should be required to get a business license; I have no problem with that," he said. "But the ones that are not regular, they show up every two or three months ... they are needy. Maybe (Rev and Tax) could be a little easier on them."
Cruz said that while he doesn't know what the business license rules are, he hopes that those infrequent vendors could be exempt from government regulations.
Cruz says that his 2-1/2 acre operation offers a service to residents of Guam. When people unload household goods, or clean out their homes, customers can purchase items they wouldn't otherwise afford.
Cruz says he's got about 30 regular vendors who sell new items, and those vendors should pay taxes like any other business owner. Food vendors, he said, should have to get sanitary permits also, he said.
"But it's not my job to go get the license for them, or see if they have one," he said. "My job is to keep the place safe.
Cruz said that he plans on posting a flyer on Sunday morning, advising vendors that government officials may visit, and they should have proper documents if required.