06 August 2012

Breaking news Tempo Semanal Exclusive: Fifth Constitutional Government

East Timor Legal News 03/08/2012 Source:Tempo Semanal 03/08/2012 Inside sources have informed Tempo Semanal of the composition of the Fifth Constitutional Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste to be announced tomorrow 6 August 2012, and sworn in by President Taur Matan Ruak on 8 August 2012.

The line up for the future leadership of Timor-Leste is as follows. Here is the list of the fifth Government members as bellow:

Prime Minister Xanana Gusmao

Minister Presidency of Council Ministers Hermenegild Pereira Alves

Deputy PM for Social welfare and Sport Fernado Lasama de Araujo

Minister of Finance Emilia Pires

Minister for Foreign Affairs Jose Luis Guterres

Minister of State Administration Jorge Teme

Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries Mariano ASSANAMI Sabino

Minister of Justice Deonisio Babo

Minister of Health Sergio Lobo

Minister of Education Bendito Freitas

Minister of Commerce, Industry and Environment Antonio da Conceicao

Minister Social Solidarity Isabel Guterres

Minister Public Works Gastao Sousa

Minister for Transportation and Telecomunication: Pedro Lay

Minister for Defence and Security Domingas Fernades Alves

Minister for Natural Resources Alfredo Pires

Minister of Tourism Francisco KALBUADI Lay

There are an additional eleven post for Vice Ministers and 25 Secretaries of State.

This makes a total of 53 members of the Government. The Government has 1) grown in numbers to be even larger than Indonesia’s – a country 230 times larger than Timor-Leste as well as Australia a country 20 times larger than Timor-Leste and 2) that it shows signs more like an oligarchy than a democracy.

There are six ministries that will be run by brothers and sisters such as: Ministry for Finance and Ministry of Natural Resources; Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Social Solidarity; Ministry of Tourism and Ministry of Transportation/ Telecomunications; and Additional examples of the country being run by families.

Naldo Rei the author of renowned book “Resistance: A childhood fighting for East Timor” expressed his concern by said, "when you have no choice you only choose whoever is available for that position but this is not about families but state."

Mr. Naldo hopes the East Timor President can review the list carefully. “Our president is a really wise person, and for the better future of East Timor he should decide what is right and wrong. If you look at the list of members of the government you can really say that this is all about families not about state,” said Naldo.

“People whoever led this country must have some credibility and capabilities to avoid nepotism in our country and President Taur Matan Ruak should say NO to this new government who is family related and refer the matter to the Anti Corruption Commission and if the President allows this happen and then better just stop with the Anti Corruption Commission because it is just a decoration only” stated Naldo. During the Indonesian occupation the resistance fought against KKN. Korupsi, Kolusi, Nepotism – this Government seems an example of nepotism on a grand scale.

If using a simple calculation of the salary of each minister, vice mininister and secretary of states at $2,500/month and in total 132,500/month and each year around US$1, 590,000 and for the five years term will be cost at US$7,950,000 for 53 members of the government. In fact the salary of ministry will higher then vice and secretary of states. That does not include other benefits: travel, pensions, cars, per diems phone bills, VIP healthcare in Indonesia and Singapore etc

The head of Lao Hamutuk NGO, Mericio Akara said, “this new structure will not be effective and efficient, because too big and full of political interest. And full of political interest this structure will be more high cost, and I think every year government need more budgets to serve those Ministers. For us as a civil society better to invest more budget in the development sector rather then invest more budget in supporting new ministers.”

 “As a civil society, we ask Mr. President to be more independent to see the Structure If not, people will consider him as a part of oligarchy system that going to be start with this new government.” “Mr. President needs to be accountable to the people. Because he made many promises on the issue of democracy, nepotism, corruption, accountability during his Presidential campaign. So now is his time to implement those promises.”

“At the same time, PM need to more wise in making his new structure. Better to avoid nepotism now, if not he will lose his popularity in one day soon.” “As Timor-Leste is just an Island and the population only about 1 million, I think the structure is too big and not really reflecting the realty as it is.” “It seem the structure is tend to response political needs from the coalition members, which not really response the real needs of the people.”

 “The structure is also manifested a tendency towards serious nepotism, which is going to bring Timor Leste towards an oligarchic state.” “I think it is not a good sign for a real democracy that Timor Leste wishes for.” ”This is also a sign that struggle for real democracy which is free from Nepotism, Collusion and Corruption will more difficult,” said Mericio.

How can members of the Government, Parliament, and other state institutions defend democratic accountability and perhaps imprison wrong doers when they are a sister or a brother. Nepotism create oligarchy, oligarchy supports and promotes corruption.

The new Government sets a troubling precedent. This newspaper notes that the disgraced former Minister of Justice, Lucia Lobato, convicted of corruption and sentenced to 5 years in Becora Prison remains free and at large.

Coming from the important Lobato family it remains to be seen if she will serve her sentence.

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