Subject: UNMIT Daily Media Review 15 September 2006

[Poster's note: International and other articles already sent out to the east-timor list (info@etan.org) have been removed from below.]

Daily Media Review Friday, 15 September 2006

National Media Reports

Leaders Have Lost the Will to Resolve Crisis: Martinho Gusmao

President of the Peace and Justice Commission, Fr. Martinho Gusmão said political leaders and the government have lost the goodwill to resolve the political crisis that emerged, citing the latest accusation by former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri against Ramos-Horta of staging a coup d’etat against Fretilin. Fr. Gusmão said as the situation gets better, misunderstandings between the leaders surface contribute to the insecurity among the population to carry out their daily activities. On the other hand, Fr. Martinho Gusmão said he’s aware that some people are contributing to the destabilization in order to continue receiving humanitarian assistance which is counterproductive.

On the issue of justice and security, Fr. Gusmão said justice is an insistence of the society and security must be immediately put in place as per the sentiment of the people. He said that the former Prime Minister and the President of the Parliament must recognize that the crisis that emerged is their responsibility and to resolve the problems many others must acknowledge their mistake. The Priest and President of Peace and Justice Commission is of the opinion a special panel must be established to resolve the problem including the distribution of guns which he considers to be an extraordinary crime. Speaking to the media following a roundtable discussion on the draft of the electoral bill, Gusmão also said there is dual justice system. For ‘small people’ or ordinary people it is a faster process but for the ‘big people’ there tends to be extended (dada lia) discussion.

In a communiqué, Frente Nasional no Justisa ba Paz (FNJP) considers the current leaders incapable of resolving the problems. According to the document, to respond to the concerns of the people, FNJP have met with various components of the country including political parties and NGOs on 12 September in Gleno/Ermera and all reached an agreement that the leaders no longer have the capacity to resolve the crisis. Therefore the ‘people’ are thinking of removing the powers handed to the National Parliament and the government to find a solution according to their will. FJNP also stated the purpose for their establishment is to respond to the current crisis and not to govern the nation.

In a separate article in Suara Timor Lorosae (STL), FJNP Secretary-General, Vital dos Santos said his group is not concerned with the threats that if Prime Minister Ramos-Horta does not resign there will be an anti-government protest. He said a protest is being planned because according to the population, the crisis emerged from the National Parliament and Fretilin government. Therefore, Timor-Leste does not need a government with a big structure like the present one. Dos Santos further said in June 2006, FJNP organized a protest to dissolve the Fretilin government as a result of their lack of capacity to resolve the problems of the nation. But at the end there were compromises and President Xanana inducted Ramos-Horta as Prime Minister to continue the government of Fretilin which had lost the trust of the people, said the coordinator of FJNP. He further said if the leaders only want to listen to the suffering of the people through protest then, FJNP would organize a protest. (TP, STL)

Population Should Not Generalize Police Work

MP Clementino Amaral appealed to the Timorese not to generalize the work of the International Forces as not good. Amaral said for those who asked for the withdrawal of the forces to carefully measure it, as there could be consequences without their presence. He said the work has been positive in minimizing the problem. He further said if one or two members of the International Forces acted inappropriately all the forces should not be blamed. In a separate article, Timor Post reported families of the youths shot by GNR police with rubber bullets in Mercado Lama (old market place) are critical of the police conduct. The head of the village of Caicoli, Domingos dos Santos went to the President’s Office to inform him about the incident and to ask him to resolve the problem, adding that the police have not acted in a professional and impartial manner. (TP)

STAE Should Be Independent

To have a credible and clarified voters, STAE must be independent to avoid favoritism, Dr. Faustino Gomez told Timor Post Thursday following a discussion on electoral laws with all political parties in Dili. Gomez said it would be better to have more organizations involved in political and voters education under the criteria of STAE. He said the project of law from Fretilin and the opposition must be analyzed in depth in the interest of the nation.

MP Lucia Lobato (PSD) in her intervention during the roundtable discussion on the electoral law said some of the issues that also need to be debated are the 5 percent members for a party to have a representative in the Parliament as presented by Fretilin, the quota for women and the status of STAE. According to Lobato, the opposition would like the Independent Electoral Commission and the National Electoral Commission. (TP)

RTTL Headlines, 14 September 2006

RTTL News Headlines 14-09-2006

IDPs at Canossian Balide increased to 12.000

The influx of IDPs into the Canossian Sisters’ convent in Balide has reportedly increased to reach 12.000 on Thursday. Speaking to RTTL at the convent, the Canossian Nun coordinating the IDPs, Sr. Guilerminha, said that the influx resulted from fighting between the youths in Caicoli area. The IDPs, the Sister said, were predominantly women and children who fled their homes after the disturbances on Wednesday night and after they heard the gun shots being fired that night.

Roundtable discussion on Electoral Law

The East Timor People’s Action (ETPA) convened a round table discussion to discuss the draft electoral law proposed by the ruling party FRETILIN and the opposition parties on Thursday. The representatives of political parties, intellectuals, religious institutions, and diplomatic corps attended the discussion. Some of the participants told RTTL that there are not many differences between the two draft proposals.

Government advised not to forget the Church

The Government of Timor-Leste is advised not to forget the Church for the institution is trusted by the people. Speaking to RTTL on Thursday, Fr. Jordao Madeira Fdcc, stated that in the time of crisis, people flee to the church for protection and hence the current government should not follow the path of the Alkatiri government, which has been criticized for ignoring the church. Fr. Madeira also called on the Timorese leaders to listen to the people saying that the people need more than the rice that is provided. The leaders should also need to listen to what the people have to say, he said.

International Media Reports

Helen Hughes: Create jobs and local industries

Blame our aid bureaucrats for the debacle in Solomon Islands

September 15, 2006

TROUBLE in East Timor and Solomon Islands is not coincidental. It has been brewing since the Australian armed forces took the lead in swiftly pacifying these two small states because in neither has there been economic follow-up. The bureaucrats responsible for rebuilding both countries have focused on semblances of representative government and bureaucratic structures such as ministries and central banks, but have failed to revive agriculture and stimulate other industries. Most people, therefore, remain desperately poor, unemployment and under-employment prevail, and hordes of frustrated and angry youngsters drift into towns. In East Timor the UN, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, assisted by other multilateral agencies, bilateral aid staffs and their consultants, have been the architects of the economic debacle that is the cause of civil violence. Living in a luxury liner moored in Dili, aid bureaucrats have created large government, but the only private employment is in the petrol stations that service their air-conditioned four-wheel drives, in restaurants, in supermarkets and in other services. The result is frustration and deep resentment. In the Solomons, the UN cannot be blamed for joblessness. It is Australia's responsibility. Although the dimensions of the past 20 years' economic stagnation were well known, the Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands had no growth focus.

The Solomons had a goldmine and tropical timber was being torn out by expatriate companies with the connivance of rural big men and their parliamentary allies, but most people lived off subsistence agriculture. Land was becoming short as the population grew at 3 per cent a year, one of the highest rates in the Pacific and, indeed, the world. A swollen parliament of 50 (for fewer than 4000 voters) and a cabinet of 20, each minister with a car, secretary and a complement of ministry staff, absorbed most of the generous aid. No wages or salaries had been paid for months when RAMSI arrived. The central bank was bankrupt. Instead of confronting the ills of bad governance, the Australian bureaucrats put their effort into reconstituting it. They underwrote the budget. The Solomons could have replaced the corrupt central bank by a simple currency board. It would have been cheap to pay out ineffectual public servants and surplus politicians. But Australia even paid the charges on non-performing Asian Development Bank lending that would have been written off if that organisation had, indeed, been a bank. The exploitation of timber appears to be the only industry thriving in the Solomons. In the political musical chairs being played in Honiara, it is not surprising that Marcus Einfeld has been chosen to by-pass the courts. Having missed the opportunities to help the Solomons restructure the government and the public service, consultants continue to blather about governance, to no effect.

The parallel economy created in the Solomons by Australian bureaucrats, the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, together with continuing funding for a large government sector, has fed Chinese restaurants, shops, service stations and even a casino. Local Chinese shopkeepers knew how to overcome barriers to going into business. They attracted immigrants from Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China to share in the bonanza. Inevitably, these were accompanied by triad interests. China and Taiwan courted politicians with ostensible aid. The Solomons gangs' focus on Chinese businesses as the beneficiaries of the skewed economy, with the burning down of the casino, was predictable. Australian Treasury staff succeeded in stabilising macro-economic policy (as they also have in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific states). But for standards of living to rise, agricultural production must increase and that means land reform to overcome the shortages of farming land that were a leading cause of the initial civil strife. Palm oil and other crops could then flourish. Tourism is a source of employment. Others would emerge if the impediments to growth were swept away. The Solomons are the same size as Iceland, much more favourably located and have much richer resources. Iceland has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world. The Solomons could be just as wealthy. But a few well-placed expatriates cannot remove its barriers to growth and development. Australia will have to help to create an environment conducive to rapid growth throughout the Pacific if it wants to pull out its soldiers and policemen. Helen Hughes is a senior fellow at the Centre for Independent Studies. (The Australian)

NATIONAL NEWS SOURCES:

Timor Post (TP) Radio Timor-Leste (RTL) Suara Timor Lorosae (STL) Diario Tempo (DT) Diario Nacional Seminario Lia Foun (LF) Televisaun Timor-Leste [TVTL]

These Items Do Not Reflect the Position or Views of the United Nations. UNOTIL Public Information Office

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