Oil dispute prompts East Timor PM to stay.
VETERAN East Timorese leader Xanana Gusmao says he's pushing back plans to stand down as the fledgling nation's prime minister as his fledgling nation continues to dispute oil revenues with Australia.
GUSMAO told The Associated Press in an interview on Thursday he'd intended to resign this September, but will now stay on until the first half of 2015, as East Timor grapples with disputes over oil revenues with Canberra and US energy giant ConocoPhillips.
He said he remained committed to transferring leadership responsibilities to a younger generation, but declined to say who might succeed him. "If I suddenly leave without stabilising these issues it's like running away from your responsibility," Gusmao said ahead of his address on Thursday to the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations. The 68-year-old was a leader of East Timor's 24-year resistance against a brutal Indonesian military occupation that left more than 170,000 dead. He was elected the nation's first president after independence in 2002 and became prime minister in 2007. The half-island nation is struggling with high rates of poverty and meeting post-independence expectations, but Gusmao said he didn't believe there would be repeat of the unrest if the country's elite was unified. Ties with Australia have been strained by a legal dispute over a 2006 treaty that carves up revenue from oil and gas under the sea between the countries. "We are not desperate for more dollars, but it must be recognised that resources within our maritime borders are ours," Gusmao said. East Timor alleges Canberra spied in order to gain an advantage during the negotiations over the treaty. It has taken Australia to the United Nations' highest court in The Hague over the seizure of documents from a lawyer working for East Timor in the arbitration case. The two nations recently agreed to try to settle those differences outside the International Court of Justice, but Gusmao said if the negotiations did not yield a satisfactory response, East Timor would resume litigation. East Timor is also in arbitration proceedings with ConocoPhillips over what it alleges are unpaid tax revenues from the company's operations at a joint petroleum development area between Australia and East Timor. Source: theaustralian
Having telephoned your office I was advised to look at the statement on your web site regarding your investments in the arms trade to see if my concerns re these investments have been allayed.
I am pleased to note that you are conducting an urgent review into where money raised by an innocent public is invested and that you have withdrawn the shares relating to BAE Systems until the review is completed.
However, I urge that you put out a statement confirming that you will never again invest money with BAE Systems or any other arms company. Arms dealers are very cunning and can make investors believe that countries need weapons for the purpose of defence, so it is okay to invest your money with them. This is of course untrue, the decimation of countries and killing of innocent civilians is really what supporting the arms trade means.
That you then have projects in countries torn apart by war to alleviate poverty and suffering does not excuse your investing in this trade, a trade I would link to the slave trade, making money out of death and destruction, for much of the poverty and suffering has been caused directly by weapons that have maimed, killed, destroyed infrastructure and decimated ways of life.
I have seen the devastation first hand in East Timor, a country independent since 1999, but still struggling against a brutal occupation of 25 years by the Indonesian military, made possible by the purchase of Hawk Jets and other weapons manufactured by BAE systems and Heckler and Koch. Many of the weapons were purchased by soft loans given to its government by our government. It will take years to heal the scars of the many who were maimed and had family murdered, every family in East Timor lost at least one member of their family murdered, indeed one third of the population was killed within the first 3 years of occupation. Villages, towns and its capital city were destroyed, infrastructure was decimated, rebuilding the country is a huge task, adding to the trauma the population is suffering.
This is one country, imagine the destruction, resulting in loss of life and poverty, caused by weapons manufactured by BAE systems on a world wide scale. Investors in the trade are in many ways saying it is fine to carry on in this way as long as we have good returns for our money.
I once more urge you to desist in supporting this trade in any way
Posted: 09 August 2012 0108 hrs
DILI: Timor Leste's president swore in the nation's new coalition cabinet Wednesday, announcing three additional ministerial posts that the opposition has dubbed an "unnecessary" use of the poor nation's money.
President Taur Matan Ruak announced 16 ministers, three more than the former government. Six are from Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao's National Congress for Timorese Reconstruction (CNRT), which leads the coalition government after winning the general election in July.
"I am satisfied with this structure. But what I ask of you all, the new ministers, is that you work efficiently. I also ask that you don't repeat the mistakes made by past ministers," Ruak said, after corruption allegations marred the former cabinet.
Fernando "Lasama" de Araujo, president of the minority Democratic Party (PD) that joined the coalition after the CNRT failed to win an absolute majority, will be deputy prime minister and minister for social welfare.
Jose Luis Guterres of minority Frente-Mudanca, another ally, was appointed foreign affairs minister.
The size of the new cabinet, with three additional ministerial posts, drew criticism, especially from the ranks of the opposition Fretilin Party, which came second to the CNRT in the July legislative elections.
Fretilin said the government's creation of new ministries was wasteful for the tiny half-island nation of just 1.1 million people, half of whom live under the international poverty line.
"This will increase spending on government ministers and vice ministers, and it's completely unnecessary for such a small country," Fretilin vice president Aresenio Babo told AFP upon seeing an earlier draft list.
"The only explanation is creating jobs for friends to satisfy coalition and individual interests."
Michael Leach of Australia's Swinburne University in Melbourne said that the Timorese would judge over the five-year term whether the spending had been in the public's interest.
"Ultimately, the public will decide if their performance justifies the extra cost, or if it's seen as a form of reward to governing party members and supporters," he said.
Timor Leste won independence from Indonesia in 2002 after a bloody 24-year occupation.
Presidential and legislative elections this year were seen as key tests of the nation's stability as UN peacekeepers plan to pull out of the once restive country by the end of the year.
*MEDIA ALERT No.1: **14:00 hours Dili 6.7.2012*
A number of grave and concerning occurrences have begun to be registered beginning last night by FRETILIN party representatives at STAE district offices and voting centres. This is based on information received from FRETILIN party representatives on the ground:
1. In Liquica district yesterday 421 ballot papers received from the STAE national office and destined for distribution to voting centres were identified to have already been perforated and/or spoiled and therefor seized and cancelled; the same occurred with 2 ballot papers in Suai and 104 in Lautem.
2. In Ermera district STAE office today FRETILIN party representatives were refused the serial number of the seals affixed to the ballot boxes by the STAE staff. Despite repeated requests they were informed that the numbers of the seals would be provided at the voting stations later when the boxes would be open.
3. In Baucau district today two sealed balot boxes destined for the Buibau voting station from the STAE District office in Baucau, arrived at the Buibau voting centre with seals with different serial numbers from the serial numbers provided to party reresentatives at the district office prior to transportation from there to the voting centre in Buibau.
4. It was also detected today that numerous voter registration cards had been delayed in their issue by STAE, but remained in Dili when they should have been delivered to the voter in question. STAE are now acting on delivering these to the districts and sub districts.
For further information please contact me on*+670 728 7080*
*FRETILIN Campaign: Dr. Mari Alkatiri: “Women and men have equal
*TVTL, 30 June 2012*
This was one issue that FRETILIN Secretary General Dr. Mari Alkatiri
during a public dialogue campaign event in Atabae, Bobonaro district.
Problems with veterans, road conditions, potable water, electricity,
health, education and mini produce markets were concerns raised by the
community in the sub district of Atabae to the FRETILIN Secretary
General Mari Alkatiri during a campaign public dialogue event held on
Friday 29 June last.
Dr. Alkatiri said in the process of answering questions raised by the
people of Atabae and seeking their support in the July 7 upcoming
election, that FRETILIN would attend to these concerns people have
about their living conditions, because from the beginning FRETILIN has
been driven by one principle, To Struggle to Free the Nation and free
the people from poverty.
“In order to develop agriculture, we have to develop markets. Coming up
here I saw empty market stall buildings, and I said, no one is going to
buy from the people coming to sell their produce up here. There are
people to sell from here, people who have produce plots. If it is
people from Dili who will come to buy, then it is better for them to
come and buy from Loes down there. These are the things we have to
develop strategically, to create strategic market centers. Not to
build market stall buildings randomly which then just become shelter
for goats and pigs as they are full of right now,” Dr. Alkatiri said.
In relation to the women of the resistance, the founder of both FALINTIL
and FRETILIN Dr. Mari Alkatiri affirmed that FRETILIN will place gender
equality as a priority in order to progress the living conditions of
resistance women and widows in all aspects.
*“Men have equal rights with women, and women have equal rights with
men. There can be no discrimination. But FRETILIN also has a
responsibility because of OPMT (Timorese Peoples’ Women’s
Organization), which is a FRETILIN organization. It is not an
independent organization. I ask, why is it that only women do not have
some rights? Women also have the same rights as men. OPMT from 1975 do
not receive pensions. That is unjust. That is wrong. They are
entitled to a pension too. If they participated in the struggle, they
have a right to a pension,” Declared Mari Alkatiri.*
The next scheduled rally will be held in Liquica district.
FRETILIN campaign door to door distributing flowers for peace and solidarity (Portuguese language report)
To: Peter Murphy <firstname.lastname@example.org>
FRETILIN is unprecedented campaign and distributes flowers to voters in Dili
The Revolutionary Front of Independent East Timor (FRETILIN) distributed today in an unprecedented initiative in the campaign for the law of 07 July, hundreds of flowers for several neighborhoods in Dili.
Campaigning door to door through the neighborhoods of Dili, the Secretary General of Fretilin, Mari Alkatiri, distributed flowers and spoke to hundreds of voters.
From home to home, in shops and even on the street, the East Timorese stopped, greeted Mari Alkatiri, spoke of the elections and followed a path with flower in her hand.
In addition to the Secretary General of FRETILIN, also the party president, Francisco Guterres Lu Olo, distributed flowers to voters regardless of party preference.
"We also sent brigades in all districts to work, particularly in rural areas, and continuously in an effort to detect electoral anomalies and irregularities to report in due course," said Mari Alkatiri.
GOPAC (Global Organization of Parliamentarians Against Corruption)
TIMOR-LESTE Rua De Nu Laran-20 Bairro dos Grillos-Dili
Telephone: (670) 331-3457 ext: 107 (Hugo Fernandes)
The Global Organisation of Parliamentarians against Corruption (GOPAC)
in Timor-Leste has called for an urgent investigation into reports
that CNRT, the political party headed by Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão,
has recently raised at least $2.65 million in political donations –
much of it in apparent violation of Timorese law.
Newspaper reports this week have detailed a long list companies and
individuals which reportedly pledged donations at a fund raising event
hosted by Mr Gusmão. The biggest donations are said to have been made
by companies that have in recent years won major government
construction contracts. These companies include Jonize (which
reportedly donated $250,000 donation), BTK ($250,000), Marabian
($250,000), Tinolina ($200,000) and Montana Diak ($200,000). Donations
are reported to have also been received from a number of foreign
companies, including $200,000 from Puri Akraya Engineering, an
Indonesian company that in 2010 won a $406 million contract to build
the Hera power plant – the biggest contract in Timor-Leste’s history.
If the reports are correct, these donations would appear to be illegal:
· Political parties are prohibited from receiving donations
from companies: Article 22(a) of Law 03/2004 on Political Parties; and
Article 4 of the Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties,
· Political parties are prohibited from receiving donations
from foreign companies or individuals: Article 22(g) of Law 03/2004 on
Political Parties; and Article 4 of the Legal Regime for the Financing
of Political Parties, 6/2008.
· While donations from “national individuals” are permitted,
contributions exceeding $1000 must be certified by bank cheque – to
ensure the contribution is from an individual, not a company: Article
9 of the Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties, 6/2008.
· Leaders of political parties, individuals or managers of
corporations who breach these rules face a penalty of six months to
two years imprisonment or a fine of $500 to $5000: Article 23 of the
Legal regime for the Financing of Political Parties, 6/2008.
· In addition, Timor-Leste has ratified the United Nations
Convention against Corruption, which requires countries to take steps
to enhance transparency of political party funding and to prevent
conflicts of interest. Article 9 of the Constitution makes such
treaties part of Timorese law.
GOPAC has today requested these reported donations be investigated by
the Anti-Corruption Commission (CAC), Prosecutor-General (PG) and the
National Election Commission (CNE). CAC or the PG should also make an
application to the court to freeze CNRT’s bank accounts while the
investigation takes place.
“These reported donations appear to be a clear breach of laws that the
current government introduced to prevent corruption,” said GOPAC chair
Fernanda Borges. “Unlawful donations to political parties pose a
serious threat to the democracy we have fought so hard to protect. As
we prepare to celebrate 10 years as an independent nation, it is
crucial that the law is upheld and that these claims are
Fernanda Borges (Tel: +670 733 0744)
Thursday 17 May 2012
Chair, GOPAC Timor Leste
Parliamentary Leader, Partido Unidade Nacional