04 September 2009

Review Of The Activity Report On The First 5 Months Of Work By The Vice Prime Minister Coordinator For The Management And Administration Of State Affa

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF TIMOR-LESTE

Review Of The Activity Report On The First 5 Months Of Work By The Vice Prime Minister Coordinator For The Management And Administration Of State Affairs

BY HIS EXCELLENCY THE PRIME MINISTER KAY RALA XANANA GUSMAO

Ministry of Foreign Affairs Conference Hall, Dili

1 September 2009

Your Excellency the Vice Prime Minister (and illustrious Members of Government)
Your Reverence the Bishop of Baucau
Illustrious Members of Parliament
Your Excellency the Prosecutor General of the Republic
Your Excellency the Provedor of Human Rights and Justice
Your Excellency the Dean of the UNTL
Dear Professors
Your Excellency the Secretary General of FRETILIN
Dear Representatives of Civil Society and the Private Sector
Ladies and Gentlemen,

As the Head of Government, I must start by congratulating His Excellency, the Vice Prime Minister, Mr. Mario Carrascalao, for his initiative in arranging this review and discussion of the work undertaken by him during his first five months in office.

The appointment of H.E. Mario Carrascalao to take on such an important task – the Coordination of the Management and Administration of State Affairs – was a result of the members of the IV Constitutional Government and I recognised that his experience, ability, integrity and diligence would provide this Government with new momentum, particularly in the policy areas that needed reform.

As you know, when the IV Constitutional Government entered into office on 8 August 2007 we vowed to implement fundamental changes in order to mobilise all Timorese citizens towards the national goal of development, and in doing so ensure that decision making would not be dominated by those ‘at the top’.

In order to enable this, we supported the implementation of bold measures, requiring a wholesale transformation in the operation of the State itself, and denounced the partisanship that existed in the Public Administration, which had become too centralised, cumbersome and inefficient.

Upon entering into office we understood that in order to restore the trust and confidence of the Timorese citizens in Democratic Institutions, and in themselves, we would require effective and credible democratic institutions.

Our Government Program is very clear when it states that the Government:

“Takes on a new political attitude: acting in a truthful manner and displaying courage and conviction in its decisions; with loyalty, honesty, solidarity, firmness and mutual respect in the positions that it takes; with commitment to the promotion of national unity and self-esteem, and finally with the capability to promote synergies, to reform and to innovate” and vows ”to carry out a thorough State Management reform, so as to enable it to work towards the common good”

Within the framework of good governance, we decided to reform and modernise Public Administration, through: ensuring its consistency with legal requirements and the public interest; prioritising the use of public goods and resources; rehabilitating the image and the role of the civil service, establishing audit and control mechanisms; promoting impartiality and merit selection in employment to build the capacity of a professional and effective civil service, while combating corruption, collusion and nepotism.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The swearing-in of the Vice Prime Minister for the Management and Administration of State Affairs, on 5 March 2009, undoubtedly strengthened this political commitment to the People. Despite the difficulties that he knew he would face, Mr Mário Carrascalão took on this challenge with courage and determination.

By doing a brief review of the efforts and work undertaken within these first five months, we can plainly see that the Vice Prime Minister, with the intelligence that he is characterised by, understood immediately that governing this young Nation is not a simple task.

Ladies and gentlemen,

It was up to Dr Mari Alkatiri and his Government, in May 2002, to build from scratch the bases for a democratic system, to lay the foundations of the State and to develop Public Administration.

This was unquestionably a difficult task, as the Country’s economy was struggling, infrastructure had been destroyed and there was no Public Administration, in the context of many problems common to post-conflict countries.

Despite these efforts, when the AMP Government entered into office in August 2007, there was still a lack of trust in democratic institutions, as people had not experienced their aspirations and hopes being met. The Government also inherited the consequences of the 2006 crisis.

In this context, the Government has been working hard in order to meet all demands and to address the priorities that have been promised since 2002.

In 2007, many Government members had to develop their Ministries and Offices from scratch: without the benefit of institutional memory; without organized archives; without equipment and financial resources; while at the same time having to implement measures and policies that could not be delayed. This included addressing the problem of the internally displaced persons and issues of internal security and vulnerable groups which could not wait another day.

It was also necessary to carry out physical, legislative and organisational structuring of the Government, which was vital to enable the implementation of reform, while at the same time continuing to provide basic services to the population.

Ladies and gentlemen,

I would like to thank the Vice Prime Minister for his commitment in consolidating the reforms that we have being implementing from the very day we entered into office and for his steadfast contribution, “without mincing words” (as the people say), to this reform process.

Mr Mario Carrascalao is a man that does not hesitate to denounce weaknesses and to contribute to improve the Government’s performance.

This is a vital principle that forms a basis of the creation of the party alliance that constitutes this Government. An executive that promotes a difference of opinions, the democratic exercise, the implementation of restructuring and improvements to promote better performance across the civil service, with the ultimate goal of consolidating democracy, growth and national development.

In conclusion, I encourage the Vice Prime Minister to continue to hold these public discussions and to operate with transparency and dialogue, in coordination with all the reforming agents in our society.

As I have constantly reminded the Ministers and Secretaries of State, we must always see the whole in order to be able to understand the parts, lest we end up like the frog in the following tale:

A frog at the bottom of a well thinks the sky is only as big as the top of the well. If he surfaced, he would have an entirely different view.

Thank you very much.

Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao

1 September 2009

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