|Subject: East Timor press headlines/ 2March
1. Bishop Belo: Vote For People Who Understand The Constitution (Timor Post, Front Page headline)
Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo stressed that the Constituent Assembly which will be formed after the general election is an aspiration of the people. Because of that, he said, those who are to be elected by the people to be in the Assembly must be well versed in constitutional affairs.
Bishop Belo said this when addressing a group of youths, including Muslim youths, at a gathering in Dili.
According to Bishop Belo, the constitution that will be drafted by the Constituent Assembly must reflect the aspirations of all the people in Timor Lorosae.
“The people who are elected to sit in the Constituent Assembly must understand fully the ideas of a constitituion. If they don’t how are they going to put forward the wishes of the people?” asked Bishop Belo.
2. West Timor Businessmen Want To Cooperate With Timor Lorosae (Timor Post, Front Page second lead)
The West Timor (NTT) Chamber of Commerce, in the spirit of better business cooperation between NTT and Timor Lorosae, has proposed renewed commercial ties between both countries.
The Chamber of Commerce has proposed opening a communication forum for trade at the border at Atambua.
This was stated by National Council member Manuel Viegas Carrascalao yesterday.
“We need the cooperation of our neighbouring countries, particularly for business, because we are sandwiched between two nations Indonesia and Australia,” said Manuel.
“It’s expensive dealing with Australia and so in order to save ourselves, we have to look to Indonesia. The proposal by the NTT Chamber of Commerce must be followed through,” he added.
3. Bishop Basilio: ETTA Must Leave Timor Lorosae In Stages (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page)
The Bishop of Bacucau, Basilio do Nascimento said that though ETTA was a transitional administration in the country, it should not, however, be dissolved in one go. He proposed that the dissolution be done in stages so that the transition to a new government occurs smoothly without any problems.
Bishop Basilio said this at a dinner hosted for a visiting Swedish Parliamentary delegation.
Bishop Basilio said the time had come for ETTA to give more responsibilities to the Timorese people so that they would be ready to form the government after the elections.
“ETTA must not be dissolved just like that. It must be responsible for training the appropriate number of East Timorese people to take over key positions in government so that there is continuity and to prevent conflicts from occurring,” added the Baucau Bishop.
4. Falintil Member Jailed For Seven Years (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page second lead)
Julio Fernandes, 30, a former Falintil member was sentenced to seven years jail. He was convicted of murdering Americo dos Santos, a militia member from the Darah Merah Integrasi group on 26 September 1999.
The judgement was handed down at the Dili District Court by the Head of the Special Judiciary Panel Luca Ferreira. He was assisted by two other judges, Silver Ntukamanzina and Maria Natercia Gusmao.
The Public Prosecutor was Brenda Suc Thornton and Julio Fernandes was defended by Siphosami Malunga and Cancio Xavier from the Public Defender’s Office, Dili.
At the open hearing Juilo Fernandes admitted killing the militia member. But he said it was not done by his own free will, but he was forced into doing it because of strong pressure from society.
At the moment when the crime was committed, he just returned to his village from the mountain jungles. Julio was from Falintil Region 4.
He told the court that when he met his father in his village in Ermera there were shouts “kill, kill, kill the militia…”
“I then approached him. Americo dos Santos was tied up and both his ears had been cut. The people then asked me to kill him. They told me to kill him if not they would kill me,” he said.
In sentencing, the Judicial Panel said it took into account the mitigating circumstances. But the panel said the accused was a Falintil member and was fully aware of the code of conduct of a soldier.
5. Pilot Civil Registration Project Threatens To Fail (Suara Timor Lorosae, Front Page third lead)
Signs indicate that the pilot civil registration program carried out in Atauro Island could fail.
There seems to be poor coordination and little support from the local population. Registration forms had yet to reach the registration station because there was no one to take them into the interior from the beach area of Atauro.
“Because of these problems, Peter Galbraith ETTA’s Minister of Political Affairs flew to Atauro Island on Thursday to see for himself how things were going on Atauro,” said a source in UNTAET.
“Based on the information that we have been getting, it seems that the pilot civil registration is not going on smoothly there,” added the source.
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