01 July 2009

Fretilin leaders seem to enjoy telling 'porkies', says Gusmao government


Dili June 30 2009

Statement By The Spokesperson of the IV Constitutional Government, The Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers

Less than one hour after the National Parliament passed the Gusmao Government's Anti Corruption Commission on June 29th, Fretilin issued a press release claiming that the Gusmao Government's Anti Corruption Commission was actually their policy.

'The Timor-Leste National Parliament in a rare display of bi-partisanship today passed with near unanimity (no votes against but one abstention from a Fretilin member) its own anti-corruption law, in the process rejecting a draft that had been proposed by the Government over nearly one year.' wrote Jose Teixeira, the Fretilin party spokesman.

The Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers and Official Spokesman for the Fourth Constitutional Government bemused by the statement said 'In Australia there is a word called 'porkies' which means a distortion of the truth.'

‘Fretilin leaders seem to enjoy telling 'porkies''.

Fretilin's media release was set to compliment their latest round of false corruption allegations against Gusmao. The allegations, widely aired on the ABC, were aimed at minimizing the impact of Gusmao’s Anti Corruption Commission announcement. Pereira commented, “taking credit for the Anti Corruption Commission is not the most ridiculous ‘porky’ told to the media and reported by our friends at the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.”

On June 26, 2006 at the height of the crisis, Fretilin loyalist Arsenio Bano told the ABC that his party had twenty thousand Fretilin supporters ready to come into Dili to protest Mari Alkatiri’s resignation. When reporter Mark Colvin pried for more evidence regarding Bano’s claims, asking where all these so called Fretilin supporters were, Bano replied “It’s correct.... we have proof.....they are only ...well ….a half hour away.” Half an hour from Dili, they would have been highly visible, yet no military forces had spotted them.

'Fretilin's twenty thousand supporters never appeared’, Pereira commented, ‘These are probably the same phantom supporters who were supposedly to participate in Fretilins’ largest ‘peace march’ which was reported by the ABC to be imminent… for all of 2008.” Pereira also expressed his surprise over how much effort Fretilin was putting into its relationship with the ABC. On February 7, 2007, Fretilin’s Secretary General Mari Alkatiri and former Prime Minister blamed the ABC for his 'demise', threatening to sue for defamation. He claimed the ABC reported with ‘extreme political bias and the utmost ill will.’ Alkatiri added that had the allegations not been broadcast, he would have never resigned.

At the closing of that interview, reporter Anne Barker asked Alkatiri if he had the support of the country, he replied 'I can tell you clearly if there is a person who has the biggest support now in the country is Mari Alkatiri.' Pereira added, 'I am not sure which country Alkatiri was referring to…'

During the election Fretilin told the ABC they had video proof of Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jose Ramos-Horta, then candidate now President of Timor-Leste, buying votes. The video, of course, never materialised but The President's response to Fretilin's 'porky' has become folklore: 'Well, it's a bit like, you know, Imelda Marcos meeting with me and telling me Mr Ramos-Horta please don't collect too many shoes'.

Jose Teixeira, who now seems to be leading Fretilin's aggressive media campaign against the Government of Timor-Leste, seems to have racked up the most 'porkies'. In 2005, Jose Teixeira told the ABC that a national oil company would be set up 'within weeks'. Pereira added, 'It seems Fretilin leaders discovered having a National Oil Company did not suit their personal; therefore, their political interests.'

During the 2007 elections, José Teixeira told the ABC 'several thousand' Australian-led troops were intimidating Fretilin voters while 'trying to disrupt its rallies'. After the elections, Teixeira then claimed Australian troops had embarked on a 'doorknocking campaign aimed at intimidating Fretilin supporters to switch their allegiance to the new illegitimate government of Xanana Gusmao.'

Pereira added: 'Can anyone imagine the Australian troops on a political door knocking campaign throughout Timor-Leste?'

In November 2008, Teixeira told the ABC that Mari Alkatiri was just nominated the lead negotiator on Greater Sunrise, 'The only problem with this statement' said Pereira 'is either someone forgot to tell the Government Alkatiri was negotiating for us or someone forgot to tell José Teixeira he wasn’t the Minister for Natural Resources anymore.'

Later in 2008, Jose Teixeira told the ABC that Government was planning to use three hundred thousand (300,000) hectares of land, ‘more than half Timor's arable land’ to establish a bio-fuel industry, but in the same year he told the ABC the Government had used all the arable land for ‘big hotels and casinos'.

Pereira commented, 'Maybe all those big hotels are for all the bio-fuel workers migrating to Timor-Leste.'

Pereira concluded: 'The Fretilin propaganda machine should spend more time on Timor-Leste, instead of focusing on Australia and working to excite the Australian media; but this is understandable as they lack any social or fiscal policies. Now, Fretilin is claiming the initiatives of the Fourth Constitutional Government of Kay Rala Xanana Gusmao as their own, like with the Anti-Corruption Commission. Fretilin Opposition leaders seem to be very confused on their own mandate.' ENDS

For More Information Please Contact: Agio Pereira +670 723 0011; E-mail: agiopereira@cdm.gov.tl

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