23 March 2010

Ricegate 2

Fretilin MP demands resignation of Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry Televizaun Timor-Leste 17/02/2010 language source: Tetun - MP Estanislau Aleixo da Silva from the Fretilin parliamentary bench has said that the Minister of Tourism, Commerce and Industry should tender his resignation as he is incompetent to resolve the problem of subsidised rice

“Gil Alves should resign now as he has made a big mistake in defying the decision of the Prime Minister and it is embarrassing for the whole country,” said Mr. da Silva.

The former Prime Minister also said that Minister Alves denied that the rice was rotten but the facts now stand against him.

“I called him a businessman minister but he denied it and right now he is doing exactly the same thing: selling the rice to the people,” the MP added.

MP Arao Noe of the Prime Minister’s CNRT said that the price of the subsidised rice is now beyond belief and that it is unacceptable.

He called for an urgent investigation into the case in order to clear up the issue surrounding the problem of rice.

For the effective distribution of the rice, recently Prime Minister Gusmão instructed the Ministry to sell rice to the population through existing local structures.

However, Minister Alves had reversed the decision to allow his staff to directly sell the rice to the population.

Minister Gil also blamed village leaders in the country for manipulating the price of rice, an act which backfired him with more severe criticisms from the community leaders.

Meanwhile, the Minister has declared that he will not resign (Diario Nacional, March 18, 2010 language source: Tetun) The Minister for Tourism, Commerce and Industry, Gil da Costa Alves, has said that he will not resign from his post because there is no one had died due to huger or famine.

“I have not seen people dead due to hunger or famine and I will not consider myself as an incapable person,” Minister Alves said.

Minister Alves made the comment to hit back at the recent statement made by the Fretilin MP's saying that he was incapable of resolving the Government’s subsidised rice problem in his Ministry.

Minister Alves said that he will not care about the accusation made against him, adding the Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao knew whether he [Alves] undertakes his work well or not.

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