FRETILIN Media Release: Gusmao Government's big spending budget fail to deliver poverty eradication

FRENTE REVOLUCIONARIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILINMEDIA RELEASE Dili, 29 May 2009 Gusmao Government's big spending budget fail to deliver poverty eradication

de facto Government led by Xanana Gusmao persistently claim that their economic policies and large budget increases since 2007 have delivered 'record economic growth', it is not having any substantive impact on the lives of non-Dili residents, which is most Timorese, according to a FRETILIN leader.

Former Minister for Agriculture and Prime Minister, FRETILIN MP Estanislau da Silva spoke to journalists today about the need for the AMP de facto government to start to listen to the Opposition, civil society, the church and others, who have been warning that the very large budget increases would only result in waste and will have little or no impact on poverty reduction.

'The fact is that it is only the World Bank and the de facto Finance Minister Ms Pires who are fond of crowing about 12 plus percent economic growth as if it was a significant achievement in itself. This means nothing if it’s only benefiting an elite few and only Dili dwellers. Our petroleum fund money is being used to fuel an economic bonanza that is being wasted because this de facto government's mismanagement and corruption. During the UN administration in 2000-2001 we had 18 plus percent economic growth but it did nothing for poverty eradication.

'What we are seeing here are the very dangerous effects of petro dollar driven wasteful public spending, turning us into a consumer economy producing little and with a very high spending public sector. Worst of all is that this is benefitting only a few and everyone knows it,” Da Silva said.

But Da Silva is not the only one saying that, and the influential Roman Catholic Church has joined in the chorus. In the country’s east, the Bishop of the Diocese of Baucau, Dom Basilio de Nascimento, said last Sunday, May 24:

'We have heard our politicians make promises since last year, but my stomach is still hungry for what they promised. For example they said that this year would be the year for infrastructure delivery. I have not seen anything significant yet. I also heard the President speaks when he comes to speak that we have an economic growth of 12%, the highest economic growth in the world. But if we ask if this growth has had an impact on the people directly, then I have not seen that yet. Perhaps if there is such economic growth we can see that it is mostly in Dili, but we in the rural areas have not yet seen the expression of this growth, the result of this growth……We hope that economic growth is not only for Dili's benefit but that economic growth is also for us in the rural areas because we are also God’s people.

'I think the measures the government has adopted such as distributing subsidies and payments here and there has made people feel stability, but I also think that if we are just dependant on subsidies then we will not go very far. Because today we are happy with $20 but tomorrow it is not enough and we demand $50, then two or three years later $50 is not enough and we demand $100, then $150, but we do not produce anything…….we have to produce something….', Dom Basilio added.

Dom Basilio also questioned government policies such as the distribution of tractors saying, 'What improvement in production have these tractors brought?' Special mention was made by him of the condition of the rural roads, which he said were in poor condition, and getting worse.

FRETILIN and other opposition parties have persistently raised all these concerns and during the debate for the 2009 budget moved to increase the budget allocations for maintenance of rural roads, doubling it to more than US$30 million for the year. But the government and its allies in the parliament rejected it.

'Rural development and the delivery of services for rural people should be our priority. When FRETILIN governed we did not have the funds. The de facto government is now flush with funds, but it is being channeled mostly to cosmetic street beautification and government buildings. Millions of US dollars are being spent to rehabilitate residences for Ministers, Deputy Prime Ministers and other members of government. Millions are being spent on celebration parties for national holidays, US$1.15 million to celebrate the May 20 restoration of independence. They have spent millions on luxury four wheel drive cars like Toyota Prados and pajeros for ministers, parliamentarians and their political appointees that could have gone to services for our people. We will continue to question this type of waste and failure to deliver services to our people, especially in rural areas, most of whom live on less than $1 a day and deserve more,” said Estanislau da Silva.

'It was FRETILIN that left this government with a huge petroleum sovereign fund with untold reserves, which is the envy of many countries. It was a sovereign fund, which, managed transparently, could have provided for us today and for future generations to pull us out of poverty. Instead it is being misused to drive us into dependency and ultimately debt, through government waste and corruption,' Da Silva said in closing.

The World Bank and other donors have warned the AMP Gusmao government that, at current spending rates and lower oil prices, the fund would be depleted by 2012.

For further information contact Jose Teixeira on +670 728 7080

The case to intervene and stop East Timorese killing witches

Dr Nicholas Herriman
Postdoctoral Research Fellow
Centre of Southeast Asian Studies
Monash Asia Institute
Monash University

30 May 2009 Warren Wright's fascinating article in a recent edition documents recent cases of killings of alleged witches in East Timor as instances of traditional justice (Witchcraft and Murder in East Timor 2009 ETLJ 6). He cites the “anti-democratic” and “maladaptive” nature of such killings as evidence for the claim that outsiders should sometimes intervene and stop certain cultural practices. However, as an anthropologist who is unsure about intervening in other societies, I would like to analyse his case to intervene and stop ‘witch’ killings. In this short essay, I recap Wright’s argument and then point to three areas where the case to intervene could be strengthened. First, I point to complexities in the anthropological position on relativism. Second, I indicate problems with intervening. Last, I suggest the need for criteria for a legal system which are not cultural specific. Rather than disproving the case to intervene and stop witch killings, these three objections indicate ways in which the case to intervene could be strengthened.

Wright documents four cases of attacks of alleged witches in East Timor: a 1999 torture of a woman; the killing of three ‘witches’ in 2008; an anecdote about a man advised by a United Nations police officer to deal with witchcraft in the ‘traditional’ way, and who subsequently killed the ‘witch’; and an anecdote about hot coals being fatally placed on a ‘witch’s’ back for punishment. Wright finds these attacks “draconian” and “anti-democratic”. Wright appears to be targeting “overly relativist anthropologists” who he implies would support these attacks. Wright criticises “many anthropologists who lack a comprehension of the concepts of democratic secular law and justice” and “are ardent supporters of traditional justice systems”. He implies that there is no role for traditional justice such as ‘witch’ killing. Nevertheless, he feels that traditional justice “will play an important role” if “we know how to take advantage” of its “positive aspects”. The grounds for this claim seem to be established if the traditional legal system is open, accessible, not draconian, respecting of human rights, and is secular and democratic. Wright’s argument that one can judge and also intervene in another society thus runs against relativism. I suggest three weaknesses in this case in the following three paragraphs.

Wright critiques many anthropologists for being relativists who fail to understand democracy. Is this the case? Relativism has been the subject of persistent debate in anthropology with regard to two issues. First, with regard to writing about or recording culture, anthropologists have debated whether they should merely describe (if that is possible) other cultures, or prescribe what they should do. Battle lines have been drawn over issues such as the wearing of a veil by Muslim women, clitorectomy and other forms of genital mutilation, the Hindu sati, cannibalism, and so on. To quote one undergraduate text book, “There is no easy answer to the question of when or if it is proper to judge the beliefs and practices of others to be right or wrong” (Robbins 1997:11). The same text also warns against the dangers of the “relativist fallacy”—“the idea that is impossible to make moral judgements about others”. Second, if moral judgements are accepted, it is debated whether outsiders (such as anthropologists often are) have the right or responsibility to tinker with society. This is the great debate as to whether anthropology should be “pure” (for knowledge’s sake) or “applied” (achieving practical results) (Keen 1999:33-5). In view of this, I suggest that it is not simply the case that “many anthropologists” misunderstand secular law or ardent supporters of traditional justice systems, rather, there is much debate and subtlety with which they approach the issue of relativism. As the debate regarding relativism is well documented in anthropological writings, I will focus on problems with intervening specific to ‘witch’ killings in Timor Leste.

One problem with stopping witch-killing is that it can cause consternation for local people and upset the balance of relations within the community. This has been the experience of some colonial and post-colonial regimes. For the Lozi of Northern Rhodesia (Zimbabwe) in the 1940s, sorcerers…were “patent criminals protected by British law” (Gluckman 1955:159). The Bimin-Kuskusmin of PNG perceive that the nearby Oksapmin people attack them with witchcraft, yet they “can no longer stage revenge raids against Oksapmin, because the government has outlawed warfare(Zelenietz 1981:9). In Cameroon, “the State appeared as the objective ally of the witch (Rowlands and Warnier 1988:127). This was observed among the Navaho: white courts refuse to acknowledge the existence of witchcraft…Hence, “witches” are in a highly favourable position to practice indirect extortion—they are feared and yet almost immune from punishment, for white governmental agencies exert every force to prevent the killing of witches (Kluckhohn 1944?:116).

The ‘protection’ of the perceived sorcerer or witch creates problems. This can be seen among the Korowai, who live to the east of Timor Leste, in New Guinea. Bereaved survivors of which attacks, until recently ambushed and killed the alleged witch outright, or by transferring him to a third-party who would assemble to execute the witch and eat his body. The consumers of the witch ’transferred’ the witch back by hosting and sago-grub feast and providing brides, to paraphrase Stasch (2001). Attempts by Indonesian police to stop this interrupted this exchange. For the Korowai, giving up homicide at the state’s behest “is tied to recognition of a larger transformation in the very make-up of the world” (Stasch 2001:47). Tinkering with one element of the system may cause larger, unintended, transformations. Intervening also risks denying indigenous people the ‘right’ to act according to their own will. Missionaries, colonial and neo-colonial states have attempted to eliminate witchcraft beliefs and recriminations (as well as many other apparently abhorrent cultural practices). East Timor’s struggle for freedom has more often than not been an attempt to stop foreigners telling its population what to do. Of course, the missionaries, colonisers, and neo-colonisers might have been right and the anti-colonialists wrong in some cases; but if this is to be asserted, the grounds for distinguishing what is right and wrong must be established. Such intervention can also come from within societies. Wright cites Xanana Gusmao’s antipathy to witchcraft and other feudal elements of traditional laws. It could be argued that this socialist critique of the killings of witches is typical of the modernising ideas of ‘indigenous’ elites in post-colonial societies. Indeed the first case of witch killing Wright refers to led to prosecutions of the alleged witch killers. However, even this kind of intervention can be harmful. For instance, government attempts to modernise and assimilate indigenous peoples has caused suffering and hardship throughout the world (Gomes 2007:2-4). This is part of a wider problem of state’s well-meaning attempts to modernise and improve populations with devastating results (Scott 1998). Before intervening we should be sure that it would not damage Timor Leste’s society, or that it would damage Timor Leste’s society but should be undertaken anyway.

The final problem with the case to intervene and stop East Timorese killing witches, is that the criteria Wright provide are themselves susceptible to a relativist critique. He advocates, for example, the criterion of “non-draconian”, implying a good legal system is not draconian. For some Aboriginals living in traditional communities, the White justice system which incarcerates them (often with fatal results) is more draconian than their system, which might resort to spearing an offender. For many Whites, traditional Aboriginal justice of spearing is draconian. Another problematic criterion for Wright’s legal system is “democratic”. Killing ‘sorcerers’ where I did fieldwork was wish of almost all local residents—often the ‘sorcerers’ own family, friends, and neighbours. In the sense that it is the will of the majority it is thus democratic. If a trial by jury were established, I strongly suspect that ‘sorcerers’ would be similarly condemned. I suspect that most villagers in Timor Leste would also wish to kill witches. To the extent that this is true, it appears that democracy is not antithetical to witch killings. As a final example, Wright implies that “adaptive” aspects of a legal system can be kept, while “maladaptive” aspects could be discarded. A clearer notion of “adaptation” is necessary here. Most commonly we think of adaptation as “survival of the fittest,” however many people believe that a system which protects the weakest and most vulnerable as ideal. For these reasons, criteria which are not susceptible to a relativist critique are required in establishing the case for intervening.

It might be that we are justified in morally judging and intervening in other societies. I suggest that engaging with the long debate over relativism in anthropology would be a good place to begin this debate. In any case, we should be wary that intervening in societies, even with the best of intentions, most often has a damaging effect. Finally the criteria we assert for changing a society—such as making the legal system “democratic”, “non-draconian”, and “adaptive”—should be defined in a manner which is not culturally specific. The case to intervene and stop witch killings in East Timor could be strengthened by taking this step.

Gluckman, Max 1955 The Judicial Process among the Barotse of Northern Rhodesia. Manchester: Manchester University Press.

Gomes, Alberto G 2007 Modernity and Malaysia: Settling the Menraq forest nomads. London: Routledge.

Keen, Ian 1999 The Scientific Attitude in Applied Anthropology. In Applied Anthropology in Australasia. S. Toussaint and J. Taylor, eds. Pp. 27-59. Nedlands WA: University of Western Australia Press.

Kluckhohn, Clyde 1944? Navaho Witchcraft. Boston: Beacon Press.

Robbins, Richard H 1997 Cultural Anthropology: A Problem-Based Approach. Itasca, Illinois: F.E. Peacock.

Rowlands, Michael, and Jean-Pierre Warnier 1988 Sorcery, Power and the Modern State in Cameroon. Man 23(1):118-132.

Scott, James 1998 Seeing Like a State: How Certain Schemes to Improve the Human Condition Have Failed. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Stasch, Rupert 2001 Giving up Homicide: Korowai Experience of Witches and Police (West Papua). Oceania 72(1):33-52.

Zelenietz, Marty 1981 Sorcery and Social Change: An Introduction. Social Analysis 8:3-14

  • Timornewsline

    Timor-Leste and Angola to strengthen development support

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão and President of Angola have agreed to strengthen development support for the two countries.
  • Carrascalão to present evidences about RTTL broadcasting cars’ case

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister for Management and Administration, Mario Viegas Carrascalão has planned to present evidences about RTTL broadcasting cars’ purchasing case to the Public Prosecution case for further legal process.
  • Fretilin calls on ruling party to create good cooperation with Australia

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Fretilin Secretary General Mari Alkatiri has called on ruling party in the country to create good cooperation with Australia, mainly the Northern Territory.
  • UN mission will end in 1012, people should create peace: Horta

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    President Jose Ramos Horta said the UN mission in Timor-Leste would end in 2012; therefore he called on people of Ainaro district to create peace and stability.
  • Timorese people could deal their own natural resources: Carrascalão

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister Mario Viegas Carrascalão said time had come of the Timorese to deal and manage their own natural resources.
  • ISF will end mission in 2010: Horta

    Suara Timor Loro Sa’e , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    President Jose Ramos Horta said if security situation throughout the country had been stable, the State would halt mandate for the International Stabilization Force (ISF) in 2010.
  • KAK will combat corruption in Timor-Leste

    Suara Timor Loro Sa’e , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Timorese Public Defender, Sergio Hornai said act of nepotism, collusion and corruption should be cleaned up in Timor-Leste, as such action could impede development of the country.
  • Minister Pires considers things going well

    Timor Post , 29 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    MPs have criticized Minister for Planning and Finance, Emilia Pires of engaging in nepotism in the recruitment of international advisers, but Minister Pires has considered thing is going well.

Press Release 

UNFPA launches HIV/AIDS/STI project in Becora prison

Dili, 28 May,  2009 - Prisoners from Becora will be benefitted with the HIV/AIDS/STI project funded by the UNFPA to be launched concomitantly with a candle light memorial ceremony to be held at this penitentiary’s installations this Thursday 28 May at 9:00 a.m.   
This project, which will be implemented by the local Non-Governmental Organization Sharis Haburas Comunidade, is an initiative to provide quality services and accurate and updated information in the areas of HIV/AIDS/STI and provide holistic approach physically, spiritually and psychologically to all prisoners and prison staff, as well as to ensure a way for prisoners to move forward when they leave the prison. 

“In Timor Leste which is considered as a low prevalence country in terms of STI’s/HIV/AIDS, there is the National HIV/AIDS/STI Strategic Plan 2006-2010 with the overall aim of maintaining the country as a low prevalence HIV nation and minimize the adverse consequences for those who are HIV positive. However, prisoners were not given focus in terms of HIV prevention and care. To fill the identified gap UNFPA has funded this project that will provide accurate services to the prisoners in this regard” explained Dr. Hernando Agudelo, UNFPA Representative. 

 The project is also in collaboration with the faith based organization Holy Spirit Sisters, the Minitries of Health and Justice, the Bureau of Prisons, the National AIDS Commission and UNMIT’s HIV and Administration of Justice Support Units. 

For more information, please contact Mariano Redondo, tel: +670 7346517 and email:


Komunikadu Imprensa 


Dili, 28 Maiu, 2009 - Prizioneiru sira iha Bekora sei hetan benefísiu husi projetu HIV/AIDS/STI ne’ebé hetan fundu husi UNFPA; projetu ne’e sei lansa hamutuk ho serimónia memorial sunu-lilin ne’ebé sei hala’o iha instalasaun prizaun nian iha Loron Kinta-Feira 28 Maiu, tuku 09:00 dadeer.       

Projetu, ne’ebé sei implementa husi Organizasaun Naun-Governamentál Sharis Haburas Comunidade, nu’udar inisiativa atu fornese servisu ho kualidade nian no informasaun ne’ebé korretu no atuál iha área sira kona-ba HIV/AIDS/STI no atu fornese aprosimasaun fízika, espirituál no psikolójika ne’ebé olístiku ba dadur no pesoál sira prizaun nian, no mós atu asegura dalan ida ba dadur sira atu oinsá bele hakat ba oin bainhira sira sai husi prizaun. 

“Iha Timor Leste ne’ebé nu’udar nasaun ho prevalénsia ki’ik relasiona ho STI/HIV/AIDS, iha ona Planu Estratéjiku Nasionál 2006-2010 kona-ba HIV/AIDS/STI ho ninian objetivu tomak atu mantein rai ne’e nu’udar nasaun ne’ebé ninia prevalénsia HIV ki’ik no atu hamenus konsekuénsia desfavoravel sira ba ema sira ne’ebé hetan ona moras HIV pozitivu. Maski nune’e, dadur sira la hetan atensaun relasiona ho prevensaun no tratamentu HIV nian. Atu prienxe lakuna ne’ebé identifika tiha ona, UNFPA fó fundu ba projetu ida-ne’e ne’ebé sei fornese servisu korretu ba dadur sira” esplika Dr. Hernando Agudelo, Reprezentante UNFPA nian. 

Projetu ne’e mós hala’o liuhusi kolaborasaun ho organizasaun relijioza ida hanaran Holy Spirit Sisters, Ministériu Saúde no Ministériu Justisa, Gabinete Prizaun nian, Komisaun Nasionál ba HIV no UNMIT nia Unidade HIV no Unidade Apoiu ba Administrasaun Justisa. 

Hakarak informasaun liután, kontakta Mariano Redondo, tel: +670 7346517 no email:  

Balibo Five lessons yet to be learnt: Author

Watch the interview at ABC NEWS

Source:ABC News
Published:Thursday, May 28, 2009 6:17 AEST
Expires:Wednesday, August 26, 2009 6:17 AEST

The author of a new novel detailing the plight of the Balibo Five, says some journalists are yet to learn the lessons from the incident. 

Amo Basilio: Povu iha Baze la Sente Kresimentu Ekonomiku

Timor Post, 29 de Maio de 2009

FATUMACA – Kresimentu Ekonomiku Timor-Leste nian sae ba 12%, nebe ukun nain sira hateten foin lalais ne'e, ne'e kresimentu ida nebe boot tebes iha nasaun ida ne'e. Maske krsimentu boot, maibe povu iha baze seidauk sente kresimentu ida ne'e.

Bispo Dioseze Baucau, Dom Basílio Nascimento hateten lia hirak ne'e bainhira dada lia ho jornalistas sira iha Colégio Fatumaca, Domingo (24/5) liu ba.

"Hau mos rona senhor prezidente hateten dala rua ka dala tolu katak kresimentu ekonomiku nebe 12%. Ne'e hau hanoin kresimentu ida nebe boot liu iha mundu ne'e, maibe kresimentu ekonomiku ne'e boot deit iha Dili karik, tamba ami husi foho ne'e seidauk hare kresimentu ne'e nia efeitu nebe halo diak no fo benefisiu diretu ba povu nebe moris iha foho. Nebe hau hein katak kresimentu ekonomiku ne'e Laos deit fo benefisiu ba Dili maibe kresimentu ekonomiku ne'e bele fo mos benefisiu ba ami sira nebe moris iha foho, tan ami sira nebe moris iha foho ne'e mos maromak nia oan hotu", dehan Amo Basílio.

Bainhira husu karik rai ida ne'e hakmatek tanba ekonomia lao, Amo Basiliob rekoinese ida ne'e tanba motor rai ne'e nian mak ekonomia, nebe bispo fo provérbio português dehan nune'e: "casa onde não há pão, todos ralham e ninguem tem razão"(iha fatin nebe hahan la iha ne'e, ema hotu hirus malu e ema ida la iha razaun).

"Nebe ekonomia ne'e mak motor rai ida nian. Hau hanoin medidas sira nebe governu hola hanesan fo subsidiu ba ida ne'e k aba ida neba, to'o oras ne'e halo ema hakmatek, maibe, hau hanoin se ita depende deit ba subsidiu sira ne'e mos ita sei l aba dok. Tanba ohin loron ita kontente ho US$20, maibe aban US$20 ne'e la to'o ita husu tan US$50, depois tinan rua ka tolu mai US$50 mos la to'o ona, ita husu tan US $100, US$150 maibe ita la produz buat ida. Hau hanoin medida ida ne'e los maibe pais Timor Leste ne'e tenki produz buat ruma atu halo balansu", dehan Amo Basílio.

Bispo mos rekoinese governu nia esforsu hodi fahe traktor ba agrikultores sira iha fatin barak, maibe nia hein rezultadu no produz alterasaun saída. "Traktor sira ne'e produz alterasaun saída? Uluk seidauk fahe traktor ne'e ita nia hare tonelada hira, agora traktor sira mai, ita hetan tonelada hira. Ne'e hau hein hela balansu husi ministeriu agrikultura ka husi governu para hodi halo avaliasaun hodi hateten katak traktor sira mai halo duni benefisius ba rai ida ne'e. Hau hare iha duni asaun, maibe, hau hein hela rezultadu,", esplika tan.

Iha fatin hanesan Bispo mos gaba motivasaun nebe fo ba agrikultores sira hodi sosa sira nia produtu lokal. " Governu sosa produtu lokal populasaun ninia ne'e, buat diak ida nebe fo motivasaun agrikultores sira lokal, tamba se agrikultores sira produz sasan iha sira nia fatin, maibe nunka sai, ema agrikultores sira ne'e la hare motivasaun tansa mak servisu matean didiak, se husi servisu sira ne'e osan ida la tama. Se governu hola medida ida ne'e, hau basa liman, hau aplaude, hau gaba. Enkuantu ekonomia rai ida ne'e seidauk forte ne'e, governu tenki inventa beibeik buat sira hanesan ne'e para agrikultor sira, ema sira produz produtu lokal ne'e iha mos biban no kapasidade atu moris husi sira nia servisu, Laos deit hein osan nebe estadu fo hanesan 
subsidiu", dehan bispo.

Iha inisiu dada lia ho jornalistas sira, koalia konaba líder politiku sira "han malu", Amo Basílio dehan katak politikus sira la "han malu", maka politika la iha sabor (la midar). Ne'e duni politika "han malu" ne'e buat ida normal ba politikus sira tanba depois de "han malu", sira sei tur hamutuk, hemu cerveja hamutuk hodi haluha tiha politika "han malu" ne'e no hakuak malu hanesan buat ida la kona sira." 

Politiku sira 'han malu' ne'e halo parte vida politika nian. Politika sira bele 'han malu' ba, maibe keta haluha promesas nebe politikus sira halo ba povu. Tanba politiku sira ba tur iha kadeira ne'e hotuhotu lori povu nia naran mak ba neba. Maibe quandu ba tur iha kadeira, fo impresaun katak politiku sira haluha lalais tiha promesas sira nebe halo ba povu. Hau kabun hamlaha hela tanba promesas sira nebe Primeiro Ministro halo konaba infra-estrutura, to'o agora hau seidauk hare buat ida. Estrada nebe aat, aat nafatin. Senhor Prezidente dala ida dehan atu halo auto-estrada (jalan tol) husi Lospalos to'o iha Mota-ain. Dehan katak Aeroportu Baucau nian ne'e sai aeroportu internasional, mabe agora bibi ho karau mak nakonu iha neba. Dehan Com atu sai portu ida, foin semana ida liu ba ne'e, hau hare portu ne'e atu monu salsala, nebe hau la hatene ukun nain sira hare portu ne'e monu tiha mak halo portu foun ida. Ate hateten deit katak promesas sira ne'e, keta hela deit iha hanoin, maibe promesas sira nebe tenki mai to'o iha ita nia rai, real nian", husu Amo Basílio. (zee)

E Timor defends 'jobs for mates' allegations

By Steve Holland and Stephanie March

Corruption allegations continue to be directed at East Timor's finance ministry, with the latest claims centring on Finance Minister Emilia Pires's hiring of foreign advisers, including Australians.

East Timor's opposition says the advisers are overpaid and are not qualified for the jobs and the country's deputy Prime Minister says corruption exists throughout government.

The opposition alleges Ms Pires hired unqualified friends as advisers.

The adviser positions are funded by the World Bank, and Fretilin vice-president MP Arsenio Bano says some of those hired do not have the educational qualifications outlined in the job advertisement's selection criteria, while others with higher qualifications were overlooked.

"It is becoming clear that the money that has been sent by the donor has not been used transparently enough," he said.

"One of the examples that we now continue to insist that the Government should be accountable for [is that] since 2008, we have be calling for accountability, responsibility of the Government, and Government has not provided any information at all to the Parliament of Timor-Leste."

The Opposition says a recently-appointed adviser is a long-time friend of Ms Pires and does not have a degree, but is being paid $US216,000 ($277,000) from the World Bank's multi-million-dollar Public Finance Management Capacity Building Project.

World Bank documents show that foreign advisors earn much more than the Prime Minister of East Timor, and nearly as much as the Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd.

East Timor is the poorest country in Asia, where the medium income is $US1 a day, or around $400 a year.

The Finance Ministry has also been the subject of a damning report from international accounting firm Deloitte, which found widespread and systemic deficiencies in recruitment processes.

The report pulled no punches as it found recruitment staff lacked basic training, English was used when Portugese would have been more appropriate, and record-keeping was not up to usual international standards.

Paper trail

According to some documents obtained by Radio Australia, the Opposition's claim that some of those hired by the Finance Ministry do not have university degrees is true.

But Ms Pires insists that the best people have been chosen for the positions, and educational qualifications only accounted for one part of the selection process.

"There were many other criterias: work experience in the field, understanding of the environment here, there were quite a few criterias, and all these people had to go through it," she said.

"Then you bring all that together and then you do a grading and then these people passed the test according to technical team that did the interviews and the screening."

Ms Pires says she has been fighting corruption since she came into office and believes the country's economy is improving, as figures suggest.

East Timor is now one of the five fastest growing economies in the world.

The country last year recorded non-oil GDP growth between 11 and 12 per cent, according to the World Bank.

"When we came in we inherited a country on the brink of becoming a failed state," Ms Pires said.

"We needed the best people to turn the country around. I think the results over a year and half have proven that. We would have been able to do that if we had incompetent people."

Whether or not the recent corruption allegations aimed at the finance ministry are simply the result of political bickering, the World Bank told Radio Australia in a statement that it is looking at the matter closely.

"The World Bank is reviewing contracts between the Government of Timor-Leste and consultants under the Planning and Financial Management Capacity Building Program (PFMCBP) in Timor-Leste as part of its supervision of the project. The World Bank's policy is not to finance consultant contracts that fail to meet appropriate standards of competition and expertise," it said.

"While good results have been achieved through the PFMCBP, the technical assistance has been costly.

"The World Bank has raised its concerns with Government about the need to reduce the number of consultants and ensure that international technical assistance delivers quality expertise and value for money for the citizens of Timor-Leste. The government shares these concerns and supports the review underway."

Corruption in government has been a much-discussed problem for East Timor since the country gained independence in 1999.

And the country's Deputy Prime Minister, Mario Carrascalao, says it is still very much an issue for East Timor.

He believes as much as 20 per cent of the country's Budget is squandered or lost to corruption.

"For instance, I went outside of Dili, about 20 kilometres, I found that there's 26 houses that have been built and then abandoned, nobody uses those houses you know," he said.

The Deputy Prime Minister says his government is making strong efforts to stamp out corruption in office. The Finance Ministry has recorded strong gains for the country and the Department's Minister also says eradicating corruption is a top priority. But a history of corruption in East Timor's Government and a relatively strong opposition means allegations will continue to surface amid the country's economic headway.

  • Timornewsline

    Parliament approves abortion article to be criminalized

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    The Parliament has approved project laws of the Penal Code article 141 about abortion. The law was approved after a two-day presentation made by Justice Minister, Lucia Lobato in the Parliament.
  • International community starts believing in Timor-Leste: Guterres

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister for Social Issues, Jose Luis Guterres said the international community started trusting in stability in Timor-Leste, therefore Australia’s Northern Territory wanted to invest in the country.
  • Corruption is a threat to national development: Fin Rieske Nielsen

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    The UN Representative, Fin Rieske Nielsen said corruption was a threat to the country’s development and was also challenge to transparency.
  • Govt to cooperate with Australia’s NT in education and health sector

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres said the Timorese Government and the Northern Territory of Australia would build cooperation in the field of education and health.
  • Alkatiri to hand over rest of money to Govt

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Timorese Special Envoy to Guinea Bissau, Mari Alkatiri said he would return rest of the money he spent for his recent work-trip in overseas countries.
  • Timor-Leste and Indonesia continue discussing about border demarcation

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Timor-Leste and Indonesia are currently continuing to discuss about border demarcation of the two countries.
  •  50% of Govt officials engaged in corruption

    Timor Post , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister II, Mario Viegas Carrascalão said based on inspection report findings of Inspectorate General showing facts that 50% of the Government officials suspected of being engaged in corruption.
  •  I have not been investigated yet: Lobato

    Timor Post , 28 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Minister for Justice, Lucia Lobato said she had not received any official request from country’s Prosecutor General about indication of corruption in her ministry.

Timorese come together for support

5:47pm Wednesday 27th May 2009

By Chris Walker »

Ex-patsfrom East Timor have used their Independence Day celebrations to launch Oxford’s first community group for people from the remote Asian island.

In 2002, the former Portugese colony became the first new sovereign state of the 21st century when Indonesia agreed to relinquish control of the territory it had taken over almost 30 years earlier.

On Saturday, more than 40 former islanders gathered at the Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Blackbird Leys to commemorate their independence and launch Oxford’s East Timor Association.

The event began with a traditional church service for the former residents of one of Asia’s two Catholic countries before the association was treated to a traditional tebe tebe and suru boek dance which sees participants all hold hands.

Carla Goncalves, 21, from Trefoil Place, Greater Leys said: “It was amazing and beautiful.

“We got to celebrate our independence which was really nice.

“I really enjoyed it because I met a lot of people from my country who I never met before.”

Miss Goncalves, who is taking an animal care course at Abingdon & Witney College, said: “We’re very happy to live in Oxford — everyone has made us feel very welcome since we have been here.”

Her brother Joao, 16, said: “It was great we met loads of new people. It’s really good to get the association started. Now we have a community here we can look after each other.

“In my country it’s the biggest day of the year. It means a lot for us to be independent.”

Joao, a Year 11 pupil at Oxford Community School, added: “Next year we’re hoping to improve it with much more activities.”

There are an estimated 300 people from East Timor living in Oxford and 500 countywide. Following a purge by Indonesian troops and anti-independence militias in 1999, hundreds of thousands of people fled to West Timor and a smaller number to Europe.

However, chairman of the East Timor Association, Paulino Cachola, said the majority of his countrymen living in Oxfordshire are not refugees but Portuguese passport-holders who came to England looking for work.

Mr Cachola said: “The association is very important for us. We want recognition of our presence.”

The 41-year-old of Ridgefield Road, East Oxford, added: “We are far away from our country, but for the East Timor community is it important that we celebrate our independence and share our joy together.”

The association is looking for more ex-pats to join their group, which will meet every three to six months.

For more information contact

  • Timornewsline -

    Lacking of human resources and facilities to support me, says Carrascalão

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Deputy Prime Minister for Management and Administration said there had been insufficient of facilities and human resource to help support his works in combating corruption.
  • Politicians yet to keep their promises: Bishop Nacimento

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Baukau Diocese Bishop, Monsignor Basilio Nacimento said the Government had made many promises to the country’s people saying this year was called infrastructure year, but nothing happened.
  • Govt launches newspaper named “Haklaken”

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    The Office of Prime Minister has officially launched a Government-produced-newspaper called “Haklaken” aimed at providing information about the Government’s activities to the country’s people.
  • Govt should create proper facilities to help support illiterates

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    MP Ana Belo from the National Congress for the Timorese reconstruction (CNRT) has urged the Government to create proper facilities to help support illiterates in the country.
  • F-FDTL’s new recruits will start training on operational tactics next week: Major Neves

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    F-FDTL’s new recruits consisting of officials and sergeants will start training on military operation tactics next week, says the F-FDTL’s Major Neves.
  • Japanese Govt provides 7, 3 million to help improve water supply system

    Radio Televisaun Timor Leste , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    The Japanese Government through its ambassador in Timor-Leste has signed an agreement on providing US $ 7, 3 million to the Timorese Government for improving clean water supply system in the Capital Dili.
  • US $ 10.000 goes missing in Prime Minister’s office

    Timor Post , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    US $ 10.000 has gone missing in Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão’s office and the case is now being investigated by the National Investigation Department of the Timorese National Police (PNTL).
  • Bobonaro administrator appreciates F-FDTL’s presence in the Border

    Timor Post , 27 May 2009- Summary by Alberico Junior
    Bobonaro District Administrator, Dominggos Martins has appreciated presence of the Timorese Defense force (F-FDTL) soldiers in the border to provide security in the area.