FRENTE REVOLUCIONÁRIA DO TIMOR-LESTE INDEPENDENTE FRETILIN Media Release May 7, 2008
FRETILIN MPs walk out of parliament in protest
FRETILIN MPs walked out of yesterday afternoon's session (Tuesday 6 May 2008) of Timor Leste's Parliament in protest at attempts to prevent questioning of two government ministers involved in dubious commercial transactions worth many millions of dollars.
FRETILIN said the President of the National Parliament, Fernando Lasama Araujo misused parliament's standing orders to restrict questioning of the Mr Mariano Sabino, Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries, and Mr Gil Alves, Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry, to one question per party.
FRETILIN parliamentary leader Aniceto Guterres said today he wanted to ask the Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry why a multi million dollar contract for rice importation was single sourced
instead of through an international tender.
"The de facto Minister for Agriculture and Fisheries needs to confirm or deny reports that he has signed agreements granting foreign companies 300,000 hectares for rubber plantations and another 100,000 hectares for sugar cane for bio fuel, when our people are facing high prices for all food commodities and our country is still importing most of its rice needs," Guterres said.
Guterres accused parliamentary President Lasama of misusing standing orders to protect the de facto Ministers and the de facto AMP government from being held accountable to the people's representatives on these very serious questions.
"This is contrary to parliamentary rules and the practice in the previous parliament. This is an undemocratic trend and shows how desperate the de facto government's allies are becoming in the face of a wave of allegations of maladministration and highly questionable deals involving government tenders worth many millions of dollars," added Guterres.
"These latest cases of maladministration follow revelations that Deputy Prime Minister Jose Luis Guterres, used public funds to increase his wife's salary as a diplomat in New York, whilst he was Minister for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. The money was used to purchase a grand piano.
"For over one week we have formally requested the parliament to call the de facto AMP government to attend parliament to respond to our queries about the level of success in spending the budget for the transitional period 1 July to 31 December 2007. But to date we have had no response. Given the restrictions by the President of the Parliament yesterday, we fear that our efforts to hold the government accountable on budget execution will be similarly thwarted," said Guterres.
Despite the lack of quorum once FRETILIN and ASDT were not present, the parliament continued to proceed, another serious issue with the conduct of the President of the Parliament.
Contact: Jose Teixeira +670 728 7080 Nilva Guimaraes +670 734 0389
UNMIT Daily Media Review 6 May 2008
Fretilin-ASDT sign agreement to form Government – One of the AMP members, ASDT has signed an accord with Fretilin which constitutes an agreement and commitment between the two parties to form a new government on May 1, 2008.
In the accord the two parties stated they have a strong coalition to rule the country in the interests of the nation.
"ASDT and Fretilin were created to stand for total liberation, the nation, and the Timorese people," declared the two parties in their accord, entitled Accord of 1 May.
ASDT President Francisco Xavier do Amaral said that the coalition does not mean that his party, ASDT is out of the AMP. Rather the coalition was formed to prepare for the future.
"We are not saying that we are leaving AMP. When the time comes, we will tell you [the aim of] this policy," said Mr. Amaral.
Separately, the Secretary-General of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri said that there are still substantial subjects ofthe accord to be discussed within the two parties.
Mr. Alkatiri also said that as ASDT has made a coalition with Fretilin, the AMP should be prepared to face early elections.
"I told Prime Minister Xanana before that if you form a government with pieces of cloth, then it will fall apart," said Mr. Alkatiri.
Other AMP members of Parliament said that up until now, they have not received any information about the accord between ASDT and Fretilin.
The President of the National Parliament Fernando Lasama de Araujo, also a leader of AMP, said that at the moment the nation's Constitution does not allow for the conduct of early elections when the activities of the National Parliament are routinely going on. He appealed to the people and political leaders to live as a nation as regulated by law, and not create confusion among the different factions in society. (Timor Post)
Ed: A high price of rice, a challenge for the AMP – Since the end of 2007 the price of rice has been getting higher and has become the preoccupation of the poor people who are feeling threatened.
Many comments have been made on the subject. Some MPs and Government members of AMP have said that the higher price of rice is influenced by international market prices, which have been affected by poor rice crops in Thailand and Vietnam. This means that the Government has not made any mistakes resulting in the higher price of rice in the country.
This reasoning that "this is not the Government mistake" might be acceptable. But on the other hand, we cannot ignore that this also the Government's mistake as it has responsibility to save the people of this country, especially those who are at the mercy of the economy.
Those who have power may not be careless with the situation because the price of rice might be considered as "small change" or the price of a cigarette.
AMP should know that to rule the nation is not depend only on other nations' policy. We should be able to face our own internal problems. If not, there will be statements like this: "They are not capable of governing but want to rule." During the campaign they promised: "If we are elected, the price of all goods will decrease." The minister responsible for this situation must step down.
The Government should do something like it did when it provided rice to public servants who have a regular monthly salary.
Why provide a quick solution for public servants but have difficulty in paying attention to the poor people? If not now, then when?
If the rice problem is a global problem, the Government should recommend to people to consume their traditional food. (Timor Post)
PSD, CNRT and PD AMP – The Alliance of Majority in Parliament (AMP) will be strengthened by the Social Democratic Party (PSD), Democratic Party (PD) and CNRT, as ASDT is going to have coalition with Fretilin [the strongest opposition in the National Parliament]. PSD representative Fernando Dias Ximenes said that up until now, the reason why ASDT coalition with Fretilin is unknown. Mr. Ximenes said that even though ASDT is leaving AMP, AMP still has 32 seats and needs one more seat to hold an absolute majority in the Parliament. "It is normal if ASDT leaves the AMP, because differences are always cropping up among the members, and even in a single party," said Mr. Ximenes. (Timor Post)
Bishop Basilio: justice should be equal to all people – Commenting about the pardon given by President Jose Ramos-Horta to Rogerio Lobato, the Bishop of Baucau Diocese Basilio do Nascimento said that to live in peace in this country, justice should be applied equally to all people. According to Bishop Basilio, even though all the people did not agree with the President's pardon given to Mr. Lobato, the President has the power to grant it. Bishop Nascimento also said that the President's pardon is not setting him free but will minimize Mr. Lobato and other prisoners' period of punishment. (Diario Nacional)
Bishop Basilio: Salsinha has to present evidence in Court - Bishop of Baucau Diocese Basilio do Nascimento is asking Salsinha to present evidence when giving his statement in Court. Bishop Basilio said that Salsinha is an important key to understanding the 2006 crisis and the attempt of February 11 against PR Horta and PM Xanana. His contribution to the judicial process is very important for development of the nation. "Now we all know that all the problems" keys are in Salsinha's hand," said Bishop Basilio. According to Bishop Basilio, whoever was involved in the process should admit their mistakes to avoid accusation and live in peace. Bishop Basilio wants Salsinha to make a full disclosure about everything he knows, as he has responsibility to do so. (Diario Nacional)
Four former East Timorese rebels deported from Indonesia to Dili – The four extradited four rebel soldiers from East Timor are wanted for alleged involvement in attacks on East Timor President and Prime Minister in February. The four rebels are Tito Tilman, Ismail San Sao Moniz Soares, Egidio Lay Carvalho and Jose Gomes. They arrived at Nicolao Lobato airport on Monday (5/5) under heavy security provided by Indonesian anti-terror police, two weeks after they were apprehended in Indonesia's West Timor and the capital Jakarta.
After arriving at the airport, Indonesian anti-terror police handed over the four rebels to Timorese authorities. The four rebels were directly received by East Timor's Prosecutor-General Longuinhos Monteiro who was accompanied by the Rapid Intervention Unit Commander Armando Monteiro, Dili District's Police Commander Pedro Belo and other PNTL officers at the airport VIP lounge. After an official hand-over ceremony, the four rebels were brought to the HQ of the Joint Operation Command in Dili, under heavy security of PNTL Rapid Intervention Unit and Task Force.
During an official hand-over ceremony, Indonesian chief of anti-terror operations Petrus Galose said that four rebel soldiers were caught by the Indonesian authorities because they crossed the border illegally after the February 11 attacks on East Timor President Jose Ramos Horta and Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão in Dili.
"Before we deported them to here, we gave them a medical check up in Indonesia and to make sure they all are in stable condition. These four rebels are brought to here today based on the law enforcement cooperation between to two nations," said Colonel Petrus Galose in a press conference at Dili's airport on Monday (5/5). (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
People in Hudi Laran area unhappy with the attitudes of the PNTL's Task Force – People in Hudi Laran, Bairo Pite, are unhappy with the attitudes of PNTL's Task Force members as their actions are not bringing the situation under control. Instead of defending one of the martial arts groups fighting among themselves, they also capture people arbitrarily or recklessly. Therefore, the people in Hudi-Laran ask police to maintain their position as a defender of the people to not defend any of the martial art groups during fighting. "Police have to have their eyes and ears opened in order to capture people who usually create problems and to not act recklessly," said one of resident in Hudi Laran, Bairo Pite. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
Paixão: A residence in Liquiça hands over a long rifle Mauser to the Joint Operation Command – The Commander of the Joint Operation Command Filomeno Paixão said that one residence in Liquiça handed over a long rifle Mauser to the Joint Operation Command on Thursday (01/5). Separately in Ermera district, people handed over 268 AR-16 bullets, one air gun, and 2 traditional weapons. On the 3rd of May, the residents in Fatubesi voluntarily handed over 19 traditional weapons, 39 traditional pistols, 1 rocket propelled grenade launcher, 2 hand grenades and many others traditional weapons to the Joint Operation Command. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
One member of the Joint Operation Command injures a lady in Haupu, sub-district Hatolia, Ermera – A lady in Ermera was injured by a member of the Joint Operation Command on Monday (5/5). The victim was taken to the National Hospital in Dili for treatment and is in stable condition now. The member of the Joint Operation Command in question has been taken to Dili for further investigation.
The Joint Operation Command has been criticized by the community for holding a party on the night after Salsinha and his men surrendered. The Commander of the Joint Operation Command Lieutenant Colonel Paixão said that he did not give any order to the members in Ermera to mark any celebration or party regarding Salsinha's surrender.
"I have never told the Joint Operation Command forces in Ermera to celebrate with any party regarding the Salsinha's surrender. If there was one, it took place spontaneously because the forces have just wanted to celebrate as the hunt for Salsinha and his men has been going on for two months. But there was no order for them to hold a party regarding Salsinha's surrender. I hope the communities in Ermera will feel free to contribute to and cooperate with the forces in achieving stability and national security," said Commander Paixão. (Suara Timor Lorosa'e)
Haburas: Mangrove Devastation in Metinaru 05 May 2008
The Haburas Foundation
Critical Issue Series - English Edition
Mangrove Devastation in Metinaru - What are the issues?
Mangrove felling for firewood and building material is out of control in Metinaro. Each day approximately 10 trucks, each fully loaded with 4 tons of illegally harvested wood are leaving the mangrove forests around Metinaro. Should we care?
The immediate benefits of the felling are financially positive and may be important for some members of the locally based IDP community
Will this short-term gain justify the disastrous long-term effects that felling mangroves will have across both the local and wider fishing communities?
Revenue from selling the wood is one of the few income sources available to a jobless and effectively landless, marginalised community.
Mangrove felling is also directly jeopardising livelihoods and Dili’s access to an affordable, first-class protein source for years to come.
Timor Leste needs a healthy mangrove resource for its fishing industry, food security, coral reef resource and a future lucrative tourism industry -The current extraction is the epitome of unsustainable resource use!
What is the answer?
Many people in Dili adhere to the conventional wisdom that the ‘sustainable environment is only an issue for Timor Leste in the future, once the more obvious and acute humanitarian problems have been addressed adequately.
Unfortunately it is very difficult to redress issues such as a lack of livelihood opportunities, access to first-class protein and good household food-security after the serious degradation to the environment that provides those services, has already occurred.
To begin the search for an answer to these problems that lie in wait for Timor Leste tomorrow, we must first generate awareness of their causes through informing all stakeholders about the strongly unsustainable practices that are occurring today.
A paradigm shift in environmental perception is essential to the future of this country, and the Haburas Foundation is leading the way. However we can only achieve a sustainable Timor Leste if this environmental responsibility is shared across all sectors of society and disciplines of development.
Mangrove forests are a key nursery habitat to the juvenile lifestages of many commercially and ecologically important fish and crustacean species(Mumby et al. 2004, Laegdsgaard & Johnson. 2001).
Coral reef’s species abundance and biomass has been shown to be severely reduced in mangrove absent areas (Nagelkerken et al. 2001) .
In Dili, important food fish such as snapper (Lutjanus. sp) jack and even barracuda species (all of which support the livelihoods of the local fishing community) utilise the mangrove forest’s ecosystem services throughout their lives.
The mangrove forests near Metinaru are being cut down at an observed rate of approximately 40 tons per day.
Mangrove areas also protect coral reef from the damaging properties of turbid run-off from the already degraded terrestrial environment ie. soil erosion (EDF. 2004).
If unregulated felling continues evidence from a plethora of studies under similar conditions suggests exacerbation of the problems will occur, seriously threatening fish stocks and livelihoods (see Mumby. 2006, Alongi & Carvalho. 2007).
There is a strong economic rationale for protecting mangroves since coral reef fisheries have an estimated annual value of $5.7 billion and many people also depend on them for subsistence." (EDF, 2004)
These issues need to be addressed at both a local and national level by the Timorese government, but also by associated NGOs and other relevant changeagents. NGOs with influence over IDP livelihood practices should aim to address this issue on the ground. These actions will help to raise awareness and stress the importance of protection of the remaining mangrove areas, particularly with respect to harmonising IDP camp and local community’s relationships. The formulation of the State of the Nation document by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is currently in progress and should also include mangrove destruction in its proceedings (with particular reference to the Coral Triangle Initiative that Timor Leste has agreed to implement - relating to coral-reef conservation). The current extraction is illegal under Timorese national laws according to:
· Article 6 of the Constitution of RDTL, section (F) pertaining to environmental protection of native resources for their continued existence,
· Articles 61 & 139 related to environmental rights,
· Regulation No19/UNTAET/2000 relating to protected areas, and also contravenes other ratified international agreements with UNFCCC, UNCCD UNCBD
For further information, assistance or to share your comments with the Haburas Foundation please contact: Tel +670 331 01 03 Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
East Timor Legal New now on East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin
East Timor legal news continues on in the East Timor Law and Justice Bulletin. ETLJB covers the period from 2008 to the present. The archive and ETLB span almost a decade. It is by no means a comprehensive archive of legal news from East Timor but does cover many subjects and sources that have been of critical importance in the development of East Timor's legal culture since the catastrophic disintegration of the rule of law in 2006. Relates sources are East Timor Law Journal, East Timor Land Studies and United Nations Police in East Timor Security Reports for the period 2006-2008.