|Subject: AFP: Gusmao urges grassroots
democracy as E. Timor marks 100 days of freedom
August 30, 2002
Gusmao urges grassroots democracy as E. Timor marks 100 days of freedom
East Timor's President Xanana Gusmao took stock of his new nation on Friday in a speech marking 100 days of independence, calling for greater grassroots democracy to check potential abuse of power.
Dili Bishop Carlos Filipe Ximenes Belo marked another anniversary -- three years since the vote to break away from Indonesia -- with a plea for an international tribunal for offenders in the 1999 violence which surrounded the vote.
Gusmao, responding to recent anti-government protests, hit back at those who "want to create a crisis" and urged people to give the government time.
"We all accept the fact that we are only now beginning in everything: in politics, in development, in building the state, in the school system, in education, etc," the former anti-Indonesian guerrilla leader said.
"Beginning with myself, we are all learning to serve the nation."
A public holiday commemorated the UN-organised referendum, in which almost 80 percent voted to break away from Indonesia despite a terror campaign by Indonesian-backed local militias.
After the vote revengeful militias burnt whole towns to the ground, leaving a UN transitional government with a massive rebuilding job. Some 1,000 people were murdered in 1999 before Indonesia pulled out and the UN moved in.
Gusmao urged parliament urgently to authorise an ombudsman to hear complaints of corruption.
He called for parliament, which is dominated by the Fretilin party, to take its responsibilities more seriously and stressed the need for greater grassroots democracy, with hamlet and village chiefs elected by the people in future.
The president, a former commander of Fretilin's armed wing, had become estranged from the party in recent months. But he announced he would meet weekly with Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri in future.
Gusmao called on the new police force not to abuse its powers or act violently.
"We should all remember that we have just come out of 25 years of a situation, where violence became part of our way of life (clearly, imposed on the Timorese)," he said in reference to the Indonesian occupation.
"The state that we want to establish in Timor must be one that respects people."
East Timorese celebrated the holiday with soccer, volleyball and a motocross event. An open-air concert was to be held Friday evening.
Dili's Bishop Belo, writing in Friday's International Herald Tribune, said justice for the victims of 1999 had been elusive.
"Rapists, arsonists and murderers walk free, while the innocent live with their trauma.
"That trauma, and the people's sense of victimization, were revived with the recent acquittals in Jakarta of Indonesian police and military charged with allowing atrocities to take place," he wrote.
Indonesia's human rights court this month acquitted six army or police officers, sparking widespread international criticism.
Belo also called for action to address economic hardship in Asia's poorest country.
"Much of the countryside remains in ruins, with approximately 70 to 80 percent of the population unemployed."
He urged Washington to be "mindful of the lessons of the past" as it makes initial steps towards re-establishing military relations with Indonesia.
"Will the Indonesian army, elements of which remain embittered by East Timor's independence, become emboldened by a renewal of US assistance and sponsor acts of subversion that could cause further suffering in our land?"
Belo urged the world to give maximum help for reconstruction, support a process leading to genuine justice, and guarantee protection for East Timor so that violence does not recur.
"The souls of the victims demand no less," he wrote.
PRESIDENTE DA REPÚPLICA
ADDRESS TO THE NATION BY H.E. PRESIDENT KAY RALA XANANA GUSMÃO ON THE ONE HUNDRED DAYS OF INDEPENDENCE
Dili, 30th August, 2002
Let us analyze the 100 days of independence.
We always hear that independence has only been for some people and that independence has not yet reached the population.
We also hear that independence is for those who did not fight nor suffer and for those who fought and suffered, independence does not exist.
It is also said that the President of the Republic, Members of the Parliament and members of the Government are already well off, they already have cars, houses, salaries and they have already forgotten the population and those who fought and suffered.
It is also said that the Government should be dismissed, because its members, from the Prime Minister, still have not done anything and, above all, they do not concern themselves with the plight of those who suffered and fought.
These complaints are natural, human, but not reasonable. There may exist failures, but these failures do not justify all such complaints. We all note that there is more to be done, nevertheless one must think that is impossible to do everything in 3 months and a development plan should never be done in one go. Wherever it may be.
There are people who think already of a possible crisis and that the Government will fall because it cannot respond to all the demands and is unable to resolve all the problems.
I must inform to you all that, in the meetings I have had with, and most recently, all the Political Parties without exception and with the two Bishops, all categorically affirmed that they were not in favour of any crisis and that they would do their best to defend the Constitution and the Democratic process.
I am not elaborating on the democratic and constitutional aspects. I just want to call attention to those who want to create a crisis, to those who demand immediate and complete change of the situation, to think carefully, for a sincere self-analysis of what they could or not achieve in such a short space of time.
I want to draw the attention of all the people to the demagogies, to the cheap talk of many who exploit the failures of the State institutions in order to mobilize the population. One fact that remains in our memories is when the Minister for Internal Administration, Mr. Rogerio Lobato, who was seconded by the President of the Parliament, Mr. Francisco Guterres, addressed the population at the Gymnasium: “You are from Fretilin, it was you who elected us”.
In the democratic elections, where Fretilin won with a margin of 57%, signifying that the majority of our people trusted the ability of the Fretilin party to lead the parliament and the government for 5 years. It was not merely for 3 or 4 or 5 months.
In my first Message, delivered one month after independence, I asked all the people to give six months to the government, sufficient time needed for us to see something concrete in the implementation of its annual program of activities.
To demand that, in 3 months, they would resolve all the problems is unrealistic and simply unreasonable. This is the reason why, I appealed to the University students to make better use of their weapon: their ability to think and rationalize, in order for their demands not to clash with the democratic rules that regulate our lives as citizens and as a State.
The most ironic of controversies, is that there are groups that did not participate in the Referendum, did not want to participate in the elections to form the Constituent Assembly not even in the presidential elections. They have demonstrated that they were anti-democratic but, today, they appear as the voice of the people, making various demands, making the most of the democratic environment that we are all trying to build and strengthen.
Today, the people demand the sweat and if they do not have it, they demand for speeches...about the History. And worse of all, History has to be on their side. To others, History does not exist. And, to others still, History cannot be written. They are History.
I believe that it is the psychosis (or syndrome, or even trauma) in the aftermath of violent conflicts or liberation struggles. The arrogance that nowadays is becoming common in some Timorese, is not a fault in itself nor even a symptom of the character of these people.
In some, arrogance results from a feeling of fragility (I would say psychological, not to say political and moral) and is fenced as a weapon for personal affirmation against everything and everyone. As you can see, it is merely a state of spirit.
In many other people, we can see that such arrogance, which in turn produces the rigid and inflexible attitude and behaviour, is often contradictory. This arrogance only serves to disguise the intellectual and political incapacity. The arrogance therefore becomes a fortress to hide ignorance from the eyes of the crowd.
If these states of spirit prevail for a long time or throughout the time, they may become a feature of unhealthy mentality!
Now, let us discuss the process of our independence, in institutional terms.
We cannot say that we have achieved significant progress in terms of constructing the State. I say this, because the State is built up throughout the years and must be built from the very beginning. The Constitution defines the general and theoretical lines, of the existence of the State. The State has to be built; it has to empower itself through the existence of its Organs. And this is not all, for there must also exist legislation for the State to take action, for the State to breathe, for the State to live, for the State to produce, for the State to activate the rest of society.
Days after the announcement of the results of the presidential elections, I went to the Constituent Assembly and drew the attention of the MPs to the fact that without essential basic laws to enable the regular functioning of the State, it would be paralyzed even though we already had a Constitution which they adopted.
In the Extraordinary Session of 20th of May, I again reminded the MPs that the Constitution was not enough, in itself and it was their duty to make the State function, with the necessary laws that needed to be passed by Parliament. In the first Meeting with the political parties, I urged them to establish an order of priorities and of importance in the adoption of laws in Parliament, so that we need not worry about laws that not of priority to the normal functioning of the State.
The institutional situation at present, in view of the Constitution, continues more or less the same, after the hundred days of independence.
The Presidency itself does not have an Organic Law to regulate its internal activities. All that we do is neither legal nor illegal.
In truth, some laws have already been passed and they are: - Passport Law, promulgated on 27 June, 2002.
- Regulation National Parliament n°1/I, “Publication of the Laws” promulgated on 29 June, 2002
- Decree n° 1/2002 of 24 May, on the “Law pertaining to the transferrence of the Legal System”, promulgated by the President on 5 July, 2002
- Organic Law of the National Parliament, promulgated on 10 July, 2002
- Law on the Interpretation of Existing Law up to 19 May, 2002, promulgated on 10 July, 2002
- “Law on the General State Budget for Fiscal Year 2002/2003”, promulgated on 16 July, 2002
- Resolution “Accession of East Timor to the IMF/IBRD/IFC/AID/IDA/ADB” approved on 15 July, 2002, signed for publication on 16 July, 2002
- Law on the Modification of the Tributary System promulgated on 16 August, 2002.
- Law on the “Alterations to Budget Allocation for the Fiscal Year 2001-2002”, promulgated on 20 August, 2002.
- Law on the “Maritime Borders of the Democratic Republic of East Timor” promulgated on 24 August, 2002.
- Resolution of the National Parliament on the “Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court”, signed for publication on 24 August 2002.
But, there is much talk about people who cross the border, who are granted an entry visa, for one or two weeks travel around all of Timor to do their business and then leave, only to return the following week. There is much talk about foreigners that come here and no-one really knows what they are here for, although to visit Timor is not a crime and we ought to encourage visits, because spending in Timor is to leave money in Timor.
And, therefore, there is still no Law on Immigration. Speaking of foreigners, we forget about ourselves and, that there is still no Law on Citizenship.
There is also much talk about CCN (Corruption, Collusion and Nepotism), of cases in which it is said that the husband, wife, uncles, nephews and cousins have the possibility of finding employment and on top of all, within the same department. Much is also spoken about CCN, and that many people with experience cannot find jobs because they are not worthy of political trust and therefore those who are chosen are not the best for that given job.
And the list of complaints about CCN does not stop here. There are public servants, who despite receiving their normal salaries, that those many unemployed would like to receive, are practicing the culture of receiving commissions from foreigners, to the amount of $100, which matches their monthly salary, above all from foreigners, or for issuing visas and other matters.
Finally, if it is true that all this is happening, there is no independent mechanism in place to receive the complaints of the people. It is, therefore, urgent that the Office of the Ombudsman (Provedoria) is established institutionally, so that a communication mechanism, open to the people is set up. For this, it is necessary that the Parliament approves the law to this effect.
There is talk about the need to separate Public Prosecution and Public Magistrates. We note everyone’s and above all of the International Community in relation to the Judicial System, and the need to ensure that it is independent and professional. There is talk of the need to establish the Supreme Court of Justice, the Court of Appeals and the Office of the Prosecutor General, there is talk of problems that occurred in Becora prison and the number of lawsuits that pile up because are not swiftly solved.
There is no law governing the Public Prosecution, there is no law which defines Public Magistrates, and we are waiting for Parliament to approve these two laws. There is no way of resolving the problems of the overcrowded jails and in the meanwhile, it seems that everybody is just waiting for the Minister for Justice to quickly finish her three months leave.
Meanwhile, I would like to speak a little bit about our judicial system. We all seem to be able to state if justice in Timor is going badly, then everything else will go less well. We need professional judges and prosecutors with high levels of responsibility, just like we need truly independent courts.
But we all accept the fact that we are only now beginning in everything; in politics, in development, in building the State, in the school system, in education, etc. Beginning with myself, we are all learning to serve the Nation.
There is a lot of criticism about the work of the judges and prosecutors, just as we hear much criticism of the action of ministers, teachers and public servants. There is also the controversy over the status of trainees Vs the UNTAET regulation that foresees lifelong appointments, for judges who have only three years of service. On the other hand, according to some sources, Timorese judges refuse to work with foreigners.
I think that we all should face the challenge of building our State, as a process of building our global capacity, in all the aspects of the life of the State. To demand that justice be independent is but one issue.
But, because it is fundamental for the whole process of democracy and development in our country, we should all accept that others be involved in the formulation of policies on the training and capacity building of judges and prosecutors. And this issue, the establishment and construction of the judicial system in Timor is a concern for all the Timorese and above all for the State institutions themselves.
This does not mean interference or intervention, because the latter can only exist when we attempt to act on cases on trial in courts. The intervention in the formulation of policies on capacity building means that we share the same difficulties, the same efforts and the same objectives.
The Council of State cannot yet function, because there is no law to regulate it. The Supreme Council for Defense and Security cannot function either because there is no law. The Parliament has to approve these laws.
Many MPs do not accept and criticize me for having appealed for the act of raising arms not to become a mere requirement of work in the proceedings of this democratic institution. There parliamentarians rebelled because I demanded greater awareness of their own responsibilities before the people who elected them and before the Constitution that they approved.
I should inform you that I have already been approached by diplomatic representatives, accredited in Dili, who expressed their surprise because immediately following the passing of laws, MPs were not able to explain their concerns and responded that they passed the laws but had not understood them.
If we have to lament the image we are creating of ourselves to the world, then the President of the Republic also shares this shame. I hope the MPs will reflect on this, with the necessary political consideration, thereby avoiding arrogance that does a disservice to all.
But let us continue to analyze the 100 days of independence.
The population in the districts complain of being abandoned, of being forgotten and, worse still, of a power vacuum.
Our Republic is called a “democratic republic”, our State is democratic. The Constitution was passed democratically and enshrines participatory democracy. In sections of the Constitution, local Democracy and local Government are mentioned. The Constitution is our fundamental law and it is written in Section 6, that the principle objective of the State is “to defend and guarantee political democracy and popular participation in the resolution of the national issues”, and in Section 5 proclaims the principle of “decentralization of the public administration”.
Participatory democracy means that the participation must come from all the citizens, it also means that it needs to come from the grassroots of our communities. Nowadays, the Village Chiefs do not know what to do and lack direction. In many places, the population does not believe in the village chiefs and so they prefer to look after their own families, to avoid headaches.
Because of this, there is no mechanism of communication with the grassroots and therefore they are easily manipulated by third parties, who mark their presence periodically or permanently at the grassroots levels. And I must say that some district administrators and some sub-district coordinators also reveal lack of direction and do not know what they should do and should not do.
Democracy is not only exercised in elections that took place and will take place to elect a Parliament or a President. If it is only to hold elections, then democracy is insufficient, or better yet, not complete.
There is no law on Local Government. There is still a need to decide on the need to establish City Councils and Counties or to decide that there is no need for these. But let us not forget that the Constitution itself determines in Section 137, that the “Public Administration is structured in such a way to avoid bureaucracy” to bring the services to the people and to guarantee the participation of those involved in effective management”.
Local power must be the outcome of a democratic choice by the communities. The hamlet and village chiefs including at the sub-district and sub-district levels that is all those in charge should be elected by the people. This would be ideal.
We all know that elections cost money. However, we must not hold to this factor for a long time, in order not to breach principles enshrined in the Constitution. These considerations are also to alert that our democracy, that this democratic process, will go badly if those in charge of the local government only fill in the criteria of political confidence, so that they can be appointed by the party of the government.
This is an in-depth issue it is a question of guaranteeing that democracy is lived by the people, on a daily basis. If not, we will easily fall into the tendency to strengthen centralized power, where bureaucracy will trickle down to the bases and hamper the promotion of debates on the problems, which are felt by the population within the communities.
There is a demand so that State Institutions may have greater communication with the population. But, timely and updated information will never reach all the population if transmitted exclusively by TVTL, Radio and Print Media.
Only by activating local government can we bring to permanent and efficient reality, the contact mechanisms of the Government to the people and the people to the Government. Only by activating the local government, will the sub-district coordinators and district administrators know that they cannot be mere bureaucrats, waiting for directions from Dili, but will have to start to concern themselves with the problems of the population, trying solutions that may be applicable or bringing the people’s concerns to the central government and the parliament.
Speaking of Parliament, the elected District Representatives must not forget that they have a responsibility, which is to convey the problems, the concerns and the anxieties of the people that each one represents.
In the process of decentralization and local government and safeguarding the democratic spirit in the elections of the hamlet and village chiefs, the traditional authorities, can and must continue to play a role of cooperating, persuading and clarifying the people. It is for this reason that Section 2 of our Fundamental Law acknowledges the importance of the “customary norms and practices” and recommends that legislation is drafted to give value to these.
We think that in this way many profound problems may be resolved or at least be heard and taken into consideration right form the roots of those problems. Likewise we think that we will not assist initiatives of mobilizing the population in the interior of Dili, to ensure that their anxieties or complaints are heard.
On the demonstrations of 21 and 22 August, I know that some of the elements of the population wanted to raise the problem of irrigation pipes that are destroyed and water cannot reach the rice fields. Others wanted to raise the need for a more favourable policy to those farmers who rent tractors and after paying the bills, do not benefit much from owning the fields.
And I know that that they did not raise these problems, because, among others of the political character, with the organizers and mobilizers vested those demonstrations, did not give them the occasion to raise them.
Speaking of the meeting at the Gymnasium, when it was said that the meeting on 22 August was an exceptional event, this does not mean that we cannot concede to more meetings of this kind or that we will prevent the population from expressing in one way or the other.
The Constitution states that issue of villages and districts must be resolved by the its population and therefore Section 65 determines that the organs “of the local government are chosen through elections, by means of universal suffrage”. It is necessary that the Government and National Parliament acknowledge with humility that they cannot assist in resolving all the problems that afflict the Timorese, and begin to prepare laws that the people need to solve the problems in the communities.
This must signify that, above all, the Ministry of Internal Administration, as instructed by the Prime Minister in this direction, has the duty to look into the legal framework for the democratic participation of all the people, to institutionalize local government, and thus correct the image that the Internal Administration only deals with security and police problems.
Speaking of the police, I wish to mention two issues raised by the people. Firstly, we all know that the Police uphold the law and oversee public order. I urge agents and officers of every echelon of the Timorese police to avoid the interpretation that enforcing law and order demands the use of violent means or even using weapons.
We should all remember that we have just come out of 25 years of a situation, where violence became part of our way of being (clearly, imposed on the Timorese). And that the reaction of the people is still pronouncedly aggressive.
The Timorese Police must adopt a policy of persuasion and much patience, to deal with the problems and with the people, thereby avoiding that on behalf of the law arbitrary or excessive actions are taken which could later serve to discredit the police themselves or lead to the lack of trust in the people for the police.
We are all undergoing a transition of imposed mentalities and cultures, but I believe that, in future, the Timorese Police will be seen as an Institution to protect and assist society. This way, the Timorese Police will not be seen as an Institution which follows orders and uses whichever means at its disposal, even if they are not of their competency, but because they consider that it is their right to apply such methods as if they are above the all and everything.
I address the second appeal to the Timorese Police in particular, to the levels of command to defend the law is to defend the Constitution. Section 18 of the Constitution states that the decisions of the Courts are obligatory and should prevail over the decisions made by any other authorities.
If one day, an arrest warrant for the President of the Republic is issued by a competent Court, the Police should not ask if the President can or wants to be arrested. The Police must carry out the decision of the Court. If the decision of the Court is wrong, it is not up to the police to find out why; there are other legal procedures to deal with this. If the Timorese Police does not gain this awareness of duty, our democracy will die, the imposed arbitrary behaviour will allow injustice to flourish, because the police will not be defending the law, will not be defending the Constitution but rather obeying to the excesses of the authorities.
Since the end of 1999 that the meetings with the population, with entities or institutions, were held with this aim: to produce an analysis of the situation, to convey information and listen to the apprehensions of the people.
A distinguished MP defended in Parliament that the meeting at the Gymnasium was unconstitutional. Firstly, I must say the statement of the illustrious MP clearly reveals the superficiality of his research of the facts about the meeting at the Gymnasium.
The State that we want to establish in Timor, must be one that respects people, rather one that does not want anything to do with the people, or that is afraid to speak to the people. Our State is to serve the people, the Timorese.
The State that we want to establish in Timor must not be a State of offices and paperwork, but rather a State that discusses with the people any issue related to their daily lives. And finally, the State that we want to establish in Timor, must be a State that does not discriminate between people or groups, on the basis of political or ideological labels.
Therefore I must say that the distinguished MP lacks political sense and the sense of responsibility, when he tried to legalistically elaborate on the problems that need to be resolved.
It is for this reason, that National Dialogue is necessary. The national dialogue will be institutionalized to periodically attempt to cover thematic issues of national interest. The dialogue would assist all of us to take up a common policy on themes of great importance or would enable a greater understanding by all Timorese about the policies that were adopted or will be adopted.
One feels great need for communication between the institutions and the people, a great need to disseminate information so that the people not only participate, but understand and take on the policies or measures of the government. Lack of communication produces doubts and suspicions, which are later expressed in demands, or in radical stances. For each program of the national dialogue, 1 or 2, or a maximum of 3 themes will be selected for debate according to the complexity of the themes. For example: a campaign can have 3 themes: “schooling, unemployment and professional training”.
The other could cover “Reconciliation and Justice”. One theme could be: “How to construct the judicial system in Timor” and another about “The Timor Sea Treaty”. Themes such as “Local Government traditional authorities and village chiefs” and “Former Combatants ways for solutions”, as well as, “Democracy political parties, civil society and the press”, “Which are the economic and development problems faced by the people”.
There will be a mechanism for constructive debate; there will also be a mechanism to convey necessary information to the people, so that the knowledge of important themes of national interest, will engage the population in the process of the democratic building of independence.
There will be two commissions created to deal with the issue of the Former Combatants and Veterans of Falintil. The 1st Commission will prepare a detailed study of the criteria to define and identify Former Combatants from 1975 to 1979. Otherwise, we will face the unacceptable situation of having, as we have seen already, youths under the age of 30, marching as Former Combatants. If we take into account the 25 years of war and that only at 18 can a young man be drafted into the ranks of the Army, then the youngest of the Former Combatants from the period 1975 to 1979 should be, today, between 38 or 40 years of age.
This Commission will make recommendations for solutions to this problem.
The 2nd Commission will also prepare a detailed study of the criteria to define Falintil Veterans from the period 1980 to 1999. This is to avoid having the same and exclusive set of criteria applied to the Falintil of 1980 as well as to the Falintil of 1998 or 1999 or 2000.
The Commission will also collect information on all the Commanders and guerrilla fighters who fell during this period of the struggle, and will make recommendations for solutions that will encompass widows, orphans and the war disabled.
In order not to have the Government alone providing solutions, which are then not accepted and so that the parties who suffered great loss, do not also come up with solutions that the Government is not able to meet, the 2 Commissions will be formed by competent members of Government, and by those claimants who best represent civil society.
The Presidency of the Republic assumed this task to encourage everyone to a profound and serious debate of the issues of national interest. Profound because we have to understand and rationalize the demands and measure the ability, resources, of meeting these demands. Therefore, looking at the current situation of the nation, we will attempt to find a balance between the eventual demands of the people and what the Government can provide.
I said it is serious, because we will have to eliminate all the demagogies that can appear in the content of speeches and statements, so that a sense of responsibility is created within each one of us, and shown in the way we participate in the debates and in the search for solutions.
Let us continue to analyze the 100 days of Independence, to analyze the building of the State. When we speak of the “State”, we are not only speaking about administration, armed forces, judges, MPs and those governing. The State is the People who are politically organized, according to what is contained in our Constitution. The State only exists to develop the resources of our country, to add value to our cultural heritage, to educate our children and to perfect the daily life of all Timorese.
We notice with some apprehension, the proliferation of Universities in Dili. We certainly welcome, the initiative of all those who have already graduated to make themselves available to help build the capacity of the youths for the future of our country.
Without minimizing the intellectual and administrative capacity to manage the Universities, we are however concerned with the quality of education. We are concerned with the future of our youth and with the future of this nation.
What kind of development do we want for this country? Which are the real needs of our students? What kind of training do we want to provide for our youth so that we build their capacity to meet the economic development needs of the country?
I urge the Ministry of Education to look into this problem. Would it not be better, if instead of many Universities, we had only one, of a high standard in Dili and we could envisage the creation of schools for Professional Technical Training for the nation?
Would it not be better for us to begin thinking of the need for Vocational Training directed at the major needs of the country, in the coming 5 to 15 years? It is necessary for us to begin to regulate initiatives that may be of use today, but may not meet the greater needs of the country.
It is necessary to outline already an education policy and a syllabus. Timor lacks technical expertise in many fields and at all levels. We cannot nourish the idea in our youths that, once they have graduated in sociology or politics, they are guaranteed employment and will better serve the nation. We have to look to our economic development, we have to guide the youths to understand that for the economic development of the country, we need fewer graduates in politics, but instead good politicians, what we need are fewer graduates in sociology to work in NGOs but instead qualified technicians for the construction of our country.
In 1974, I worked in civil construction in Darwin. One of my Australian colleagues, who received the same salary as me, was a law graduate. This is to show that if we do not have a vision on educational policy for our youths, we may come to see in the future our graduates working as labourers, under the orders of foreign technical staff, because we lacked skilled human resources.
It is heard that university students are trying to establish SMAs and SMPs, in the districts and sub-districts. This is a valid initiative and concern, but I continue to draw your attention to the quality standards of education, that such initiatives may not achieve or guarantee.
I do not want miss this opportunity to draw the attention of the Ministry of Education to the various complaints on the performance of some teachers throughout the country. There are teachers who arrive late to school, sign in and then spend all their time in idle chatter, others do not come to work and others still, who can’t but physically punish the children. In this way, we are taking the education of our future generation on the wrong path.
The Ministry of Education should appoint School Inspectors, in order to put an end to this situation and to begin to correct the many anomalies, in respect to the previous appointments of teachers, some or many of them, with no knowledge or pedagogic experience.
Greater participation from the parents of the students in the debate of these issues, may not only change the violent behavior and the indiscipline of the students, but also achieve a higher standard of professionalism and commitment on the part of the teachers.
If we do not concern ourselves with this, we will make a serious mistake in developing our Human Resources, merely in terms of statistics and not in terms of quality of training and education and teaching.
As we are noticing, our problems are many ranging from the building of the State to developing the capacity of the Timorese, from acquiring a new sense of nationalism to the need to broaden and strengthen democracy.
And the problems are not only the ones we have mentioned. There are still many, small and big. But I want to take this opportunity to cover two issues of the same nature: destruction of State property.
About three weeks ago, the Post Office in Comoro was inaugurated. Soon afterwards, people threw stones and broke all the windows. A week ago, the Regional Office of Customs and Tax was inaugurated in Baucau.
Soon afterwards, people threw stones and broke all the windows.
On the other hand, we cannot continue to tolerate acts of vandalism of this nature. I know that the case in Comoro involved many people, an individual allegedly one of the perpetrators was arrested. I also know that the Judge decided to grant parole, while the investigation is pending.
I hope that a solution to these problems is found quickly so that it serves as an example for us not to continue to destroy State property, our own property. And I appeal to the population not to destroy what we are painfully building.
In relation to the lottery, apart from the confiscation of $30,000, which is now being held by the Court, the two responsible persons were granted parole, pending the investigation. But I am also aware that the lottery continues in Culu Hum, Bemori and Bairro Pite. I was informed that the business is run by Timorese, although the cards come from overseas. I lament immensely that the arrest warrant issued by the General Prosecutor, has not yet been carried out.
All this reveals the need to have Criminal Investigation Police.
If we continue to roam, with no strength to enforce the law, right at the beginning of our independence, by the time corruption develops deep roots, it will be most difficult to combat it and we will all be engulfed in the culture of “whoever holds power, is the law”.
To end, I would like to inform everyone that the meeting between the Prime Minister and myself has been institutionalized, and will be held every Thursday, to enable the exchange of information and ideas. Safeguarding the independence of the Organ of the Presidency, it was felt that to serve the building of our State, dialogue is an important and much needed mechanism.
Dialogue and communication are not only relevant between the institutions of our State, but above all between the institutions and Civil Society. Therefore, I recommend the National Parliament involve civil society in public hearings, in debates on draft bills, be them of a sensitive nature or above all, when they are related to national interests.
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