06 January 2009

Agreement marks Luro friendship

The Irrigator John Gray 6/01/2009 4:00:00 AM THE Friends of Luro group ended 2008 with an official presentation of the Friendship Agreement to Leeton Shire Council.

A short ceremony was held on December 16 to present the document, which signalled an official connection between Leeton Shire and the Luro region in Eats Timor.

The evening, which included presentations from the most recent Leeton visitors to Luro, was attended by Consul General of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste Abel Guterres.

Although the official friendship document was signed last year, there has been a friendship between Leeton and Luro for three years.

As chairwoman of Friends of Luro, Mary McPhee presented a framed copy of the signed agreement to mayor Paul Maytom as well as a certificate in the Tetun language to Mr Guterres.

Cr Maytom travelled to Luro for the first time last year to sign the agreement.

“The signing of the friendship agreement is the culmination of everything the group has been doing since 2004,” he said.

“I always felt I would like to get across there. (Members) Reece (Tehan) and George (Weston) were the ones that got me there.

“I just felt as mayor I understood it would be a great thing for the community to be there for the signing. To have dozens of people come out and cheer and clap meant more than to stay at the best motel.”

Friends of Luro members Sister Marie McAlister, Mr Weston and Mr Tehan also spoke of that last trip to Timor-Leste and the way the friendship projects are progressing.

Sr Marie told those in attendance about the optimism and acceptance by the people of the friendship agreement, Mr Weston spoke about the project to send unused wheelie bins to Timor-Leste for food storage and Mr Tehan talked about the postal-natal unit and a simple water filtration project using buckets.

Mr Guterres, who attended the initial meeting to propose the friendship concept, answered questions about the nation, its current political state and the future.

“I think this is what the friendship agreement is all about,” he said. “Face to face. Sharing a joke, this is what friendship is.

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