Today marks the first big step toward the final selection of the next President of this country. Speculations and bets are going around on who the top two contenders of this primary will be and who those two are, depend on who is responding.
One big question, does the COVID-19 pandemic have an impact on the voters perception of the candidates? This is not clearly expressed by the voters. Most focus on the candidates themselves or the specific program on their platforms.
Each of the four candidates came out in February and March with general platforms, most of which were aimed at changing laws and changing the development direction of the country.
Candidate Raynold “Arnold” Oilouch says he will improve the current system and create opportunities that benefit everyone.
Candidate Alan Seid says he will bring new opportunities with new ideas such as legalizing marijuana (cannabis) for medicinal purposes and online gaming
Candidate Johnson Toribiong promises to help those most in need through online gaming policy and oil exploration in Kayangel.
Candidate Surangel Whipps Jr. propose to expand secondary education institutions, tax reforms, and to make his policies “people” centered.
The candidates have kept their platforms while trying to add on COVID-19 recovery plans.
Oilouch said he will work with United States and with partners to seek funding to finance the shortfall due to the pandemic. He added that he was already working to address COVID issue both as head of the National Emergency Committee and as Chief Negotiator on the 2nd Compact Review.
Seid said that he will find private financiers to invest in Palau, in the new industries such as cannabis to raise the money Palau needs to address the pandemic. He said that he could immediately get investors to invest in Palau, bringing in funds Palau needs.
Toribiong said he will start oil exploration immediately to help the economy at this time. He said that with oil exploration, he can get the funds Palau needs quickly.
Whipps Jr. said he will push for tax reforms, corporate registry and invest in local people. He said that he has plans ready for implementation and will not waste time making plans.
One certainty is that whoever wins the presidency, will be dealing with the impact of this pandemic throughout the entire 4-year term.