Subject: LUSA: State must be more transparent with citizens, says president

31-12-2004 15:01:00. Fonte LUSA. Notícia SIR-6633306 Temas:

East Timor: State must be more transparent with citizens, says president

Dili, Dec. 31 (Lusa) - President Xanana Gusmão of East Timor denounced on Friday a "culture of irresponsibility" among officials in the new nation, calling for more transparency in the Dili government's dealings with the people.

"If we continue along the same road in 2005, our state will gradually weaken, asÓjustice will only be applied to those who are poor and not those in power. And when there is no justice, corruption flourishes", said Gusmão in an end-of-year address to the nation.

The Timorese leader identified three main issues and events that have marked the past 12 months, namely relations between the Armed Forces and national police force, Timor's first census and the start of the process to elect traditional leaders.

"Serious" problems still exist between the police and the East Timor Defense Force, said Gusmão, criticizing the lack of attention paid by the military, the judiciary, parliament and the Dili government to a report on these difficulties by a commission created on his initiative.

Timor's first national census began in 2004 and Gusmão praised this initiative for providing an insight into the lives of ordinary citizens.

All members of the government, judges and state officials should remember to fill in their census forms so that "the people know how each one of them lives", said Gusmaõ, in a barbed reference to the charges of state corruption he made at the start of his address.

"Only in this way can we end the distrust and avoid the many rumors about corruption, expensive cars, and containers being illegally opened to avoid paying customs duties".

"As you servant with a duty to serve, I think that if the government knows how the people live, the people have to know how their rulers live".

The other event in 2004 that merited Gusmao`s analysis was the beginning of the process to elect traditional leaders and village chiefs.

The process has been boycotted en masse by opposition parties in the Dili National Assembly, leaving the way open for the ruling FRETILIN party and some small independent groups to contest the elections unopposed.

"As president I have to lament the fact that only one party is running in the ballots".

Balloting to elect village chiefs "sucos" and traditional leaders took place this year in two of Timor's 13 districts. The process is due to conclude mid-2005.


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