Vanuatu MP vows to repair roads on Epi

13 Nov 2012

ABC Radio Australia

A newly-elected member of Vanutau's Parliament says his top priorities will be to repair the roads and bring development projects to the island of Epi

Robert Bohn is the first naturalised citizen from Vanuatu to have gained a seat in parliament.

The former American citizen says he is proud of his win on Epi, and is looking forward to "doing good things" for the people.

Mr Bohn told Radio Australia's Pacific Beat he sees many challenges ahead.

"Certainly, the roads are a disgrace. They haven't been maintained since Independence. Our airports are not what they could be. Certainly our schools and our medical facilities are not what they should be," he said.

"We think that there is a lot of money being budgeted for Epi that doesn't actually arrive on Epi and that will be part of my job."

Mr Bohn is currently the chairman of the Vanuatu Finance Centre, a tax haven that has been targeted by the authorities in both Australia and the United States.

He was arrested in America ten years ago and was embroiled in a decade-long court battle with the US Government.

Mr Bohn says he decided to stand in last month's Vanuatu elections after talking to the people and chiefs of Epi.

"Our provincial governments have a lack of money and human resources to bring government services to the island," he said.

"It is really going to be the people on the island working through the systems of local area government, local area councils, that is really going to provide the services that are required on the island.

"I see a lot of effort with bringing small project development to the island. We're focused mainly in nutrition and health and education, infrastructure development and appropriate-sized commercial development for the people."

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