So in January 2008 the Ministry of Agriculture signed an Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with a certain GTLESTE Biotech to develop agribusiness opportunities, and biofuel/sugar cane in particular in Timor Leste.
Sounds like a good idea.
But the concession is potentially for 12% of the entire country and no one has appeared to ask anyone anything?
Sounds like a bad idea.
The public knows the Minister of Agriculture. But who is Sakiris Chairman of GTLESTE? Google tells us as of 2000 he was a Kalimantan Coal Man.
Indexim Coalindo PT. Sarana Panen Abadi (65%) Gino Sakiris (17.5%) Others (17.5%) 08/1994 East Kalimantan 100,000 Ha Exploration Mr. Gino Sakiris , President Director Gedung Galva 5th Fl Jl. Hayam Wuruk 27 A, Jakarta Tel.: 385-4993, Fax: 385-4995
Gino Sakiris, PT Kemenangan
This MOU also makes reference to a map of the land to be developed for biofuel sugar/ethanol plant purposes. Would be very interesting to see the map. Have it? Send it along to email@example.com
This is a picture of SubInspector Artur Avelar Borges, taken two years prior to the day this blog post was uploaded. 24 May 2006. It is taken on the grounds of the house of Chief of the Timorese Defence Force, Brigadier Taur Matan Ruak. Artur was involved in the attack on the house of General Matan Ruak.
Interesting uniform and firearm for a senior police officer.
In any event he was charged, tried and convicted in 2007 to a few years in Her Majesty's Becora Prison. Within days of being convicted the charges were thrown out for lack of evidence.
Artur comes from a well known family in Aileu and has friends. In fact he used to be Special Assistant to former Police Commander Paulo Martins.
What Artur doing now? He is working for the Acting Police Commander Afonso de Jesus. So much for good policing...
His name is Tito da Costa. His nom de guerre is Lere Anan Timor, and just in the past week he recevied some of the highest honours the land has to offer. He spent 24 years in the jungle. He is from the Makalero speaking subdistrict of Iliomer in Lautem. Tito is Chief of Staff for the FALINTIL-FDTL. He one of the "hard men" in the defence force and more than a few people are genuinely scared of him.
They called it the Timor-Leste Development Partners Meeting (TLDPM). A bit farcical really. Everyone milling about telling eachother how fantastic they are and their respective organisations are etc. But what this blogger found in particularly amusing was the new (circa 2007) Government emblem emblazoned on the guest entrance cards. Note the AK-47 semi-automatic rifle.
This evening's story is that the Government apparently has, as yet unconfirmed plans to extend the runway at the Nicolau Lobato Airport as pictured above. Extend which way? East or West. More than a few problems to solve in either direction that is for certain.
Some of these rifles ended up, according to the UN OHCHR Commission of Inquiry anyway, in the hands of Rai Los in 2006 and some ended up in the hands of the Alfredo Reindao Group including a certain Marcelo Caetano - alleged by some to have shot President Horta on 11 February 2008.
I wonder what the political leadership thinks of these weapons now? Obviously they are not that concerned as the PNTL has been reissued with their long arms 2 months ago. Indeed the AMP government seems just as fond of paramilitary guns in the hands of the police as the FRETILIN government was.
Interesting how in this photo Marcelo Caetano is seen surrendering his HK33 in the presence of Vice Prime Minister Guterres "and" President Horta among others in May 2008.
On 21 May 2004, nearly four years ago, then Prime Minister Alkitiri and then Foreign Minister Ramos-Horta meet a Malaysian Airforce plane at Nicolau Airport to greet 200 new HK33 semiautomatic assault rifles. These rifles came free of charge and were destined for the PNTL border police.
I was in restaurant eavesdropping on a conversation earlier today among some foreigners. They were discussing the "cynicism" of some recent events. The ASDT - FRETILIN deal caused an alomost rabid anti-FRETILIN reaction. The recent announcement of by President Ramos-Horta that he intended to pardon perhaps Timor-Leste most criminalised politician, Rogerio Tiago Lobato was described as being "huge mistake". The line of argument was, "cannot they understand it is against the law?", or "do they understand it is bribery at worst and destablising at best?".
It occurred me that there seemed to be major point being overlooked. The people in question have known eachother for 35 years. View this file photo from 1975 shortly after Fransisco Xavier Amaral proclaimed independence on behalf of Timor-Leste. In it we see on the far right of the front row, Rogerio Tiago Lobato, to his right Mari Alkatiri, and to Alkatiri's right we see the Proklamador himself. Interestingly, we can also see Ramos-Horta fourth from the right in the second row. Sporting a fantastic afro. It was. after all, the 70's.
In any event these relationships run long and they run deep. It really should not surprise people to see events occur which they view to be contrary to the interests of the country if they were to consider history.
An interesting photograph from the cover of the 8 May 2008 edition of the Journal Nacional Diario. It would appear that ASDT is very much the junior partner in the new partnership with FRETILIN with Lu Olo (President of FRETILIN) and Mari Alkatiri (Secretary General of FRETILIN) taking centre position on the photo op subsequent to the signing of the two party accord. President of ASDT, Fransisco Xavier Amaral, the Proklamador, seems to be lingering on the edge of the whole affair.
This is a copy of the original political deal signed by Mari Alkitiri and Fransisco Xavier Amaral on 1 May 2008. Reliable information suggests that they in fact had not met for nearly a year prior to the signing ceremony. The deal makers - moderates in FRETILIN and ASDT. As for MA and FXA - Enemies on a Monday, friends by Wednesday and fila fali ba inimigo ba Sabadu. Odd. Then again, it is politics.
So there Xanana was: sitting there in his suite in the Hotel Borobodur in Jakarta and he heard Fransisco Xavier Amaral was going to pull out of the AMP Coalition Government that he leads. A shaky four legged chair became an even shakier three legged chair. Rai nakdoko ka lae? I understand that his reaction was cold anger. Leading an entourage of 72 Ministers, Secretaries of State, Directors, advisers and other assorted flotsam and jetsam Xanana cut short his trip and returned to Dili. How times have changed since this file photo from April 2002.
His host, the owner of the Hotel Borobodur, apparently footed the bill on behalf of the Government of Indonesia, or Timor-Leste - who knows. The owner is a certain Tommy Winata(http://id.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tommy_Winata). Friend, banker and political confidant of many of the same TNI generals that the Truth and Friendship Commission is "looking at". But more on Tommy in Timor later.