Former Health Minister Dr. Emais Roberts is named as one of the candidates for the Office of Governor in the upcoming 14th General Election of Peleliu State, set for December 2021.
The position of governor will once again be up for grabs as the popular 3-term Governor Temmy Shmull will no longer be eligible, based on Peleliu Constitution’s term limits for governor.
Dr. Roberts, in a phone interview with Island Times, confirmed that he had agreed to run after being requested by village chiefs and people of Peleliu.
“I’ve built our house here and have been enjoying life and fishing,” he said. “When I was approached about running for governor, I initially told them that I was just enjoying what I was doing and there are others that could do it. I was told that yes, there were other potential candidates but they wanted me to run.”
“I thanked them for asking me and after considering, I agreed to it. After all, it is up to the people to decide,” expressed Dr. Roberts.
He added that some people had said to him that running for governor is a downgrade from his former position as minister, but he said it is not so. It is still a service to the people, just on a different platform.
“Sometimes we think only of big things, but we can make a difference in smaller ways,” he said. “For example, improving community health, a program we pushed when I was minister, we can use this platform to continue to improve community health.”
Dr. Roberts believes that the governor is in the best position to help the community. He said that if the people of Peleliu elect him, he will work to improve their community health and model that to other States. “I can do more to help people through this approach,” he added.
Governor Shmull, in a call with Island Times, said that if Dr. Roberts runs, it would be a good thing for Peleliu.
“He has built a house here and loves to spend time here. It would be great if he does run,” expressed Governor Shmull.
Dr. Emais Roberts, serving the last administration as Minister of Health, successfully kept the COVID-19 virus from entering Palau in 2020, leaving Palau as one of the last few countries in the world that is COVID-free. He owns and runs his private medical clinic, the Family Surgical Clinic, and serves on a number of Boards, including Palau Medical Licensure Board and Palau Medical Referral Committee.
Dr. Roberts won’t be the first former minister to run for the Office of Governor of Peleliu State. Current Governor Temmy Shmull was a former Minister of State during the first terms of President Tommy Remengesau Jr. Former Peleliu Governor Jackson Ngiraingas was the Minister of Public Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce under President Johnson Toribiong’s administration.