- Speech by Dr José Ramos-Horta, Candidate for President,
Dili, March 23, 2007
- 100-day speech of the Second Constitutional
Government of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste delivered
by H.E. the Prime Minister Dr. José Ramos-Horta,
9 November 2006
- Speech by H.E. Dr. José
Ramos-Horta, Senior Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and
Cooperation, Minister for Defence At the Security Council, New
York, 13 June 2006
- Intervention by the Prime Minister
Mari Alkatiri at the reception for the
Visit of the President of the World Bank to Timor-Leste
Hotel Timor, Dili, 9 April, 2006
- Speech by the Prime Minister, Mari
Alkatiri, at the opening session of the Timor-Leste Development
Partners Meeting, Díli, 4 April , 2006
- Speech by H.E. J. Ramos-Horta, Senior
Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation at the
Security Council, New York, Friday, 5 May 2006
- Government´s plan to improve
national budget execution has received support from Development
Partners, Joint Statement from Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, 24-26 April 2005
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, Closing Remarks, 26 April 2005
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, Opening Statement, 24 April 2005
- Speech to the Extractive Industries
Transparency Initiative Conference, London, UK, 17 March
- Speech of H.E. Prime Minister in the
commemoration of the HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej, in Hotel Timor,
Dili 3 December 2004
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, Closing Remarks, 19 May 2004
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners Meeting,
Remarks at Opening Session, 18 May 2004
- Human Rights Day speech,
10 December 2003
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, Opening Statement, 3-5 December 2003
- Timor-Leste and Development Partners
Meeting, Closing Remarks, 3-5 December 2003
- Official dinner hosted by H.E. Mari Alkatiri,
23 October 2003
- Handover ceremony of trucks from Malaysia
to Falintil -FDTL, 23 October 2003
- Prime Minister Dr Mari Alkatiri addresses
the UN General Assembly, 29 September 2003
- Address to forum hosted by Marion
Hobbs in association with Asia 2000 Foundation, Institute of
Policy Studies, Centre for Strategic Studies and New Zealand
Institute for International Affairs, 18 August 2003
- Statement at Pacific Island Forum Meeting,
Sheraton Hotel, New Zealand, 15 August 2003
- Statement by H.E. Prime Minister
Mari Alkatiri On the occasion of the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative (EITI) Multi-stakeholder Conference, London,
17 June 2003
Speech by Dr José Ramos-Horta, Candidate for President,
Dili, March 23, 2007
Over the past ten months, my resolve to serve my people has been
It was strengthened by the crisis
by the overwhelming challenge to deliver the fruits of independence
to our people.
It was strengthened by the early challenges of nation building
the economic and social depression caused when the international
community left our shores.
And it was strengthened during the 24 years of occupation
the bloodshed and the pain
and the loss of life.
I have drawn from the good example
of Our Savior and of our people
and found in adversity
My Friends ,
On 20 May in the year 2002 of Our Savior Jesus Christ, our nation
acceded to independence
and Timor-Leste was born.
It was to be a nation forged not by trauma, pain and colonial
but through a democratic referenda.
We assumed our historical destiny
an ethno-linguistic mosaic wedged between Southeast Asia
and a people of peace and justice.
With the affirmation of the people and the steadfast support
of the international community
four centuries of foreign rule dissolved
and a new voice was heard.
We formed, from the grass roots,
a Government, a bureaucracy, a treasury, an economy
and a thing of great beauty began to take flight
and assert itself in our region.
Over the coming two years, we earned by inches the quiet confidence
of the international community
and our near neighbors.
We restored relations with Indonesia.
We renegotiated economic ties with Australia.
We maintained our historical connection to Portugal.
It was not to be an easy journey
mistakes would be made,
lessons would be learned.
There would be heart breaks
and there would be set backs.
There would be blood and toil
and tears and sweat.
Let April 9, 2007, be recorded
as a new day in the history of our nation and our people.
Let it be recorded as the day we began a new dialogue about our
to culminate in the election of a new President.
At the cusp of this two week election campaign, I join with my
drawn from across our nation
seven men, one woman, ages ranging from 41 to 70
all of whom have served our nation in various roles and
to begin this debate.
I am honored to call each of my colleagues "my friend".
Upon returning to Timor-Leste in 1999,
first as a CNRT leader,
later as Minister for Foreign Affairs,
and in recent months as Prime Minister and Minister for
it has been my honor to travel far and wide
to each of the 13 districts in our nation.
I enjoy being in the rural areas.
I particularly enjoy travelling to these villages in the interior
in a private capacity, in my spare time.
I enjoy my conversations and discussions there
drawing on the patient reflections of our wise people.
I now believe that I can say, without hesitation, that most of
our people know me.
They know what I have done for this country
my role during the 24 years of our struggle for freedom.
They know what I have done as Foreign Minister
and what I have done as Defence Minister and Prime Minister,
in the last 10 months.
Most importantly they also know that I am with them.
They know that I was with them in May, June, July 2006
during the worst months of the recent crisis.
Two weeks is too short for me travel to all districts
to meet them again
and to share my vision and my plans, if elected President,
for our beloved Nation.
My campaign has lasted six years
and, in some ways, my whole
That is why I can say with confidence
that I know well, my 'well loved' land,
from end to end, ash to ash, dust to dust. And my 'well
loved' land knows me.
I have seen her at her greatest
when she rose from bloodshed
and to lay aside past grievances
to forge the world's newest nation.
And I have seen her when she almost slipped back to a darker
a cycle we hoped had passed.
During May, June, July and August 2006, the worst months of crisis,
I was with the people.
On the evening of the April 28, 2006, I was with the first Internally
Displaced Persons (IDP's) at the airport area.
Day and night, I travelled the streets of Dili
and the outer regions.
I visited the suburbs.
During the most difficult days, the days of fire and ash
in which our sons and daughters in F-FDTL (Timor-Leste Defence
Force) and PNTL (Timor-Leste Police Force) were injured
I was with them in hospital.
I also visited
...Alieu, Same, Alas, Maubisse, Gleno, Emera, Lete'Foho, Atsabe,
Maliana, Liquica, Suai, Oecussi, Manatuto, Lakluba, Soibada, Baucau,
Laga, Lospalos, and Lore.
I visited isolated villages.
I visited police posts on the border.
I spoke with men, women and children.
I spoke with youth, street vendors, and fishermen.
I spoke with gang members.
I spoke with police officers and soldiers.
I spoke with the much respected Bishops, Priests and Nuns.
I spoke with non-government organisations, political parties,
and business community.
In the midst of this trauma, I was drafted for the position of
I accepted this most thankless and difficult task
as the dust from the weeks of crisis gathered in the air
like a cloud that would not burst.
Our country was in crisis.
Our hard fought-for institutions were beginning to disintegrate.
Our people were suffering.
I responded to their call
and accepted the position of Prime Minister
for ten months.
In 2000 and 2001, I had already travelled the country
helping to explain to the people about the new opportunity
and about the UNTAET mandate
and I helped to mobilise the democratic voice of the people.
I helped to establish dialogue in several areas in our nation
where some groups were in discord.
And I never sought to be a candidate for a position of power.
I accepted the invitation made to me by the winning party of
the 2001 elections for the portfolio of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
That was my job.
As part of the first Constitutional Government, I helped to build
a modest but active Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.
I continued my work of twenty-four years,
projecting and promoting Timor-Leste to the world.
Following the restoration of independence, I led the process
of establishing diplomatic relations with more than 100 countries.
We consolidated relations with our Asia and Pacific neighbours..
Timor-Leste's relations with Indonesia, the other ASEAN
countries, Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, The Republic
of Korea, India.
The foundations for long standing relations with these nations
has now been laid.
FOREIGN RELATIONS IN THE FUTURE
A small and vulnerable country needs a dynamic, creative and
pragmatic foreign policy, inspired by our national interests.
National interests are not an abstract academic matter.
They are real issues that are related to our internal and external
security, peace and stability, and economic well-being of our
We are not alone in this world; we are part of an increasingly
globalised world, interconnected by investments, tourism, trade,
knowledge, information, science, technology, and diseases.
We have two neighbors, Australia and Indonesia, who have been
good friends to us.
Both are democratic countries, and we share with them land and
sea boundaries, airspace, and a long history that is both rich
in what is positive and negative, painful and liberating.
The two countries are very different.
Indonesia, an Asian country, with 240 million people, with the
largest Islamic faith in the world, still poor, though generously
endowed by God with vast natural resources, a creative people,
many are highly educated.
Australia is one of the richest industrialized countries in the
world, with only 20 million people, a rock solid democracy and
a bastion of Christianity, an open and tolerant country, founded
by convicts, many innocently convicted by the Crown.
Australians, by their very origin, as sons and daughters whose
ancestors were unjustly deported into exile in that vast and hostile
environment, are very attached to the ideals of justice and freedom.
Australians are instinctively sympathetic to the weak and persecuted.
We East Timorese are lucky to have such great neighbors and the
recent years of our independence have shown how our two neighbors
have been supportive of our new state.
As President I shall continue the policies of the recent past
of enhancing further our existing relations with our two neighbors
at official level as well as at people to people level.
Timor-Leste is now preparing to join the Association of South
East Asian Nations over the coming five years
and to share in the fruits of a trading block representing
close to a trillion dollars
and 500 million people.
The opportunities are numberless, and the time is soon.
If elected I shall make it a priority our accession to ASEAN.
Timor-Leste is part of Southeast Asia.
It is here that we belong.
hence we must worker harder and faster to join this region
of the world, integrating ourselves into this dynamic economic
community of more than 500 million people.
In the matter of foreign policy I have been always inspired by
the best interests of our country,
consolidating existing friendly relations
harnessing good will
forging new allies and potential trading partners.
The record speaks for itself.
For example, Timor-Leste now has excellent relations with both
the United States of America and Cuba,
two countries who have had difficult relations for over
half a century,
with vastly different regimes, dimensions and resources.
I strongly believe in our relationship with China, Japan, Republic
of Korea, India.
I will continue to enhance such relationship that can only
serve our best national interests.
I am proud that I have contributed to our special relationship
with the countries of the European Union.
Over the years I visited every single Western European country
and developed close personal ties with leaders and peoples from
Portugal to Spain, France, Germany, Italy, the UK, Ireland, Sweden,
The European Union is the single most important regional economic
and diplomatic power bloc in the world.
Because of our shared history of centuries,
shared beliefs in human rights,
the Europeans have a deep understating and sympathy towards peoples
in all continents.
The US remains the sole economic and military super-power
, a continent on its own, that will continue to lead for
in the fields of innovation, creativity, science
The US produces more Nobel Laureates in Sciences than any country
in the world. That's why I say they will continue to lead for
many decades more.
We have many friends in the US and if elected President I will
make it a priority to continue this special relationship based
on shared values and beliefs.
In regards to our relationship with Cuba, let me be very frank,
open about it.
The special program of Cuban doctors working and teaching in
our country and our students studying medicine and other related
subjects in Cuba is of enormous value to us, to our people.
If this program continues, and even if only 50% of our students
are graduated with good marks, Timor-Leste will have several hundred
medical doctors in 10 years from now, resolving one of the most
basic needs of our people: access to doctors.
So as President I shall continue to support this program.
THE UNITED NATIONS
I will say a few words about the United Nations.
This multilateral organization of which we are the 191st member
is vital and indispensable for the entire world,
for large and rich,
for poor and small nations.
We are in a globalised world where people and diseases travel
No country is immune from certain diseases that travel from one
country to another, from one air traveller to another.
This is only a small illustration of how our planet has become
smaller and how we have become interconnected through science
and technology, international trade and tourism.
To address issues of poverty and diseases we need the joint efforts
of the international community.
To advance into the 21st century of the digital knowledge we
need the know-how and technology of others.
To improve the lives of our poor rural people, we need them to
improve their productivity and quality of products and then find
markets abroad for these goods.
The United Nations is vital to all of us and specially to small
countries like Timor-Leste.
The U.N. can give us a larger space where our voice can be heard.
the U. N. can be a sympathetic and neutral force that give
us more power where we can negotiate with larger powers.
The United Nations have been in the forefront in assisting us
through our many conflicts and crises of the past,
helping us winning our freedom,
helping us building up our new nation.
Let's show gratitude to the U. N..
and one way to show our gratitude is to support the U. N.
personnel in Timor-Leste to do the job they were mandated to do
They are not the new colonisers as some radical elements in our
society might say.
A coloniser usually stays in a colony for several centuries.
The U. N. usually stays in a country for a few years, too few.
So let's be intelligent and pragmatic, let's try to get hem to
stay here for many years,
so that they help us build our institutions,
provide us with security,
let them spend money in our hotels and restaurants, rent
our houses, employ our people, etc.
The U. N., like any big organisation, with many thousands of
people serving in it,
it has good people with dedication and competence,
it has also many who are lazy and incompetent.
Look at our Public Administration.
Some of our own civil servants are dedicated and competent;
some are lazy, incompetent and dishonest.
That's how we all are, as human beings, with qualities and sins.
I am about to complete my mandate as Prime Minister the Second
Constitutional Government, the Government of the Poor.
As a Presidential candidate, during the whole period of the campaign,
I will take temporary leave from the Office of Prime Minister.
I will not use government property for my campaign.
As a candidate, I will seek higher office as a common citizen.
I invite the other candidates, the political parties, the State
Inspector General, the Provedor of Human Rights, to monitor my
If you notice any mistake or abuse on my part do not hesitate
in denouncing me
or in making any transgression public.
In Government, I have enjoyed close friendships across the political
The Government over which I preside since July 2006 is a Government
the majority party of the parliamentary elections.
I always tried to respect the majority party.
Being a non-elected Prime Minister
borne out of a crisis
.with a mandate of less than a one year
I would have many limitations placed upon me.
I believe I have cooperated loyally with my government colleagues.
And I share with my colleagues the small victories registered
during my short term in office.
With humility, I must assume responsibility for the failures.
For these failures, I apologise to you and all of our long suffering
and dignified people.
But our passage has not been without achievement.
When I was sworn-in as Prime Minister, I said that the Government
I was going to lead would try to serve the best interests of the
It was going to be the government for the poor,
at the forefront in the fight against poverty.
Given the time constraint I could not deliver change to effectively
affect the lives of the Timorese. I will pursue that in the Presidency.
NEW FISCAL POLICY
Upon coming to office, I promised to use existing money to dignify
the human being,
to give them hope, to give them food and clothing
and to give them a roof.
That's my first priority.
One way to help the poor is to energise our weak economy.
That is why I led a review of our tax system.
We are spending more trying to collect taxes and duties than
the amount we actually collect!
With oil and gas revenues over US$1 billion, I thought that one
way to help stimulate the economy was to put some money in the
pockets of the people.
After extensive consultation, debate and thought, last week I
proposed a new tax system for Timor-Leste.
It is based on three principles.
First, it will be pro-poor.
Timor-Leste has significant oil revenue, so it should not be
collecting any tax from the poor or from small businesses.
Under my plan, anyone earning less than US$1000 a month will
not pay tax.
After that they will pay only 10 percent.
Second, it will be pro-business and pro-development.
Timor-Leste needs to encourage the development of a strong private
That means encouraging the creation of new domestic businesses
and encouraging foreign businesses to set up in our country.
Third, it will be simple.
Timor-Leste should not tie up its own human resources in tax
collection or tax compliance. Both the government and the private
sector should have the burden of complex taxation systems removed
These ideas on tax reform have been discussed with President
Xanana Gusmão. He agrees in general with such ideas.
We both believe that the proposed new tax system is the right
one for Timor-Leste
that it is much needed for the good of our nation.
If we are to maintain any taxes, it should only be on goods or
industries that cause any environmental and health harm.
That is my commitment to the people in this election.
Fewer than three in 100 Timorese - including almost the entire
rural population - has access to telephone and internet.
The community deserves better. The Government has to act.
We must move to provide services to the sub-districts or villages.
We must provide strict obligations to roll-out network infrastructure
or to expand the coverage of its service.
That is why we must establish a new telecommunications policy
framework based on current international standards.
That is why we started a program of telecommunications regulatory
The new policy will be aimed at promoting fair competition and
private investment in the telecommunications sector.
It will mean rural and remote access to telecommunications services,
cheaper and accessible internet to businesses and students.
Under my leadership we have entered into discussions with Timor
Telecom to resolve this situation.
These discussions will continue if I am elected
and we will be in a position to deliver change.
In today's globalised economy, the competition for the foreign
investment is intense.
That's why we must work to improve conditions to attract investment
- both national and foreign. It is a critical area of the nation's
In a study of the World Bank, Timor-Leste was listed last year
as one of the most difficult countries of the world to be able
register a company.
Among 175 countries, Timor-Leste was in 174. Only Congo is worse.
As Prime Minister, I promised to amend this.
To help the Government with the efforts of changing the investment
legislation, the International Financial Corporation has suggested
some changes to commercial laws.
These changes will radically improve the ranking of Timor-Leste
in respect to Easiness to start a Business by 98 positions (from
141st to 43rd place), and 11 positions overall.
This was ready to go to the Council of Ministers in September
2006. But for some unexplained reason it was only presented in
December. It has not been approved yet. Is it that someone does
not want Timor-Leste to rise in the ranks of Easiness of Doing
Business under my leadership? One wonders.
If elected President, I will not rest until Timor-Leste is listed
with the easiest countries in the world to do business and create
We are also reviewing all legislation dealing with both domestic
and foreign investment.
Nonetheless some progress was made.
Upon being sworn-in as Prime Minister I met with a group of key
public servants who deal with investors.
Our aim was to simplify procedures, making it easier to invest
I must now report that investors started to show interest in
Timor-Leste. Since I took office, 34 companies have been granted
the status of foreign investors as compared with only 12 in 2002-2006.
Of those, 15 are new projects worth almost US$112 million that
are estimated to create 4897 jobs. If we add to this the $80 million
project from Thailand for green power generation, it is almost
$200 million in new projects in just 8 months.
The investors are from Japan, Korea, Australia, Portugal Kuwait,
Singapore, Indonesia and Thailand. These are projects aimed at
developing the important sectors of tourism, infrastructure, energy,
fishing and agriculture, and will be located in Dili, Com, Lospalos,
Liquica, Maliana, Baucau, Loes and Hera. The investors are just
waiting for certainty in the political situation so that they
can kick-start the projects. Under the right climate, it all augurs
well to Timor-Leste.
My Government is also negotiating with the Kuwait Arab Economic
Development Fund for investment in the construction of projects
worth up to US$600 million. The projects include roads, bridges,
refineries and hotels.
As well, the US Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC) recently
selected Timor-Leste as an eligible country for funding in the
next fiscal year 2007. There is now a plan to develop with MCC
a five-year program of development assistance, with particular
emphasis on infrastructure and private sector.
This will include an investment of US$180 million in the power
to supply electricity to the entire country
and to bring down the cost of electricity.
Widespread access to inexpensive electricity will have a major
impact on the business environment.
The program will include US$160 million invested in the transport
sector to improve our 3.000 kilometers of national and district
roads, and Dili Airport. It is expected that by 2015 a majority
of the population have access to safe water and sanitation.
SIMPLIFICATION OF PROCUREMENT
I have found Procurement, as it is functioning currently, to
be a deterrent to development. They are a law onto themselves.
I must confess that it has been one of my failures not being able
to 'fix' this area. However it will change. I will pursue it to
ensure it does. Having projects for road building, etc. sitting
there for over one year is scandalous.
Nonetheless, to honour the pledge I made during my swearing-in
as Prime Minister in July when I said I would "investigate
the complaints about the non-payment of bills by the Government,"
I made a surprise visit one morning and demanded a report explaining
the government's non-payment of accounts - some dating back to
2004 - to several companies and that those debts be settled immediately.
The private and enterpreneurial sector is an indispensable element
of our country. They provide a service and they should be paid
Some millions have since been paid but unfortunately there continue
to be unjustifiable delays that hinder development of infrastructure
and other development.
As President I will press for a complete overhaul of the procurement
We have been able to remedy some ongoing problems with immigration.
Humanitarian workers previously had to renew their tourist visas
every 30 days.
Under these burdens, every 30 days they had to pay $US35.
Under this mountain of red tape, some even had to travel to the
border to be processed.
People recommended for residency status were waiting up to two
years for their application to be processed.
It was ridiculous.
That's why as Prime Minister I have initiated the process of
eliminating these anomalies. I will pursue this from the Presidency
BETTER CUSTOMS' SERVICES
We have demonstrated the political will to reduce onerous rules
relating to customs.
Only my intervention led to the 'liberation', three years after
arriving at the Port of Dili, of a container with goods for poor
The container, with used clothing, furniture, food and even two
wheelchairs, had been sent from Australia, to help some of the
poor of Timor-Leste.
I must say though that, in the past few months, the port and
customs' operations have somehow improved.
Now import of humanitarian goods has no duty and a 48 hour turn
Import of commercial goods now has a five day turn around.
I'll be pursuing this area with a plan for the overall of the
operations. Unnecessary bureaucracy has to disappear.
HEALING THE WOUNDS OF F-FDTL AND PNTL
If I am elected President I will continue to follow the good
example of President Xanana Gusmao, hero-son of our people.
In his footsteps, when I became Minister for Defence, I said
I would me more like a chaplain to the armed forces than a minister,
that I would help lift morale and to heal wounds,
and to re-establish the pride of a liberation army whose
soul seemed to have been lost.
Together with President Xanana, we did the same with PNTL.
And it was with tears in their eyes, that soldiers and police
embraced each other as they gathered for an historic ceremony
at the Palacio do Governo in mid November.
As hundreds of spectators packed the Palacio grounds and the
national anthem was played, the President of the Republic Xanana
Gusmão called on the youth of the country to collaborate
with the army and police in the process of peace.
We watched with emotion as members of the F-FDTL and PNTL lined
up alongside each other in a display of solidarity and trust.
Traffic along the main ocean-front boulevard was brought to a
stop. Bunches of flowers were handed out to the country's army
and police forces and as they raised them above their heads the
The head of the armed forces, Brigadier Taur Mata Ruak shook
hands and embraced many of the police at the rally.
The then Commander of the Police Paulo Fatima Martins walked
among soldiers shaking hands and greeting friends.
The demonstration of comradeship and trust between the F-FDTL
and PNTL has given encouragement to many people in the Internally
Displaced People's camps to return to their homes.
The "peace rally" followed extraordinary meetings held
between the President of the Republic, Xanana Gusmão, myself
and leaders of Timor-Leste's army and police.
These meetings were followed by larger gatherings involving the
President, myself and all senior and middle-ranking army and police
Today F-FDTL and PNTL, side by side, shoulder to shoulder, support
each other in re-establishing with success law and order in Dili.
I will continue his historic program promoting a culture of peace,
tolerance and non-violence across the country.
ASSIST THE POOR
As President I will also devote my attention and energy to assisting
That is why I intend to establish a Presidential Task-Force on
to be co-chaired by the Head of State, the Speaker of National
Parliament and the Prime Minister.
I will invite experienced members of the civil society to be
part of the task-force
including the Non-Government sector and the Catholic Church.
It will review past government policies and failures in the area
of poverty reduction.
It will propose new strategies and budgets.
The fight against poverty must be a national rallying point.
I will support a combination of immediate cash transfers to the
I will support quick-impact programs,
expanding the cash for work program beyond street cleaning
into small projects
such as rural roads maintenance, repair and or maintenance
of schools, hospitals, and clinics.
PENSIONS TO THE POOR
If elected I will propose a tight pension plan to help our poorest
and most disadvantaged.
I have worked closely with some of the world's top economists
on this matter.
I think we can make it work.
The country can afford to budget up to US$40 million to pay out
at the monthly amount of US$40
targeting the100,000 poorest individuals, elderly, handicapped,
war widows and veterans.
The payments should be done on quarterly basis
saving on administrative costs.
It will be done on location through the government and church
HOUSING FOR THE POOR
Immediately, if elected President, I will propose an ambitious
housing for the poor
for public servants
members of PNTL
particularly for those serving the people, educating our children,
in the border areas, in the remote villages of our nation.
This is the right thing to do
as the poor cannot afford a roof over their heads
and if we want our policemen and women,
and public servants
to have the basic conditions to work, to serve our people, in
the most remote and poor areas.
It will also foster the decentralization and development of those
less fortunate, accessible areas of Timor-Leste.
LAND, WATER AND FOREST PRESERVATION PROGRAM
In parallel, I will advocate the launching of a major land, water
and forest preservation program to save our land and create jobs.
We must remember that Timor-Leste is a relatively arid island
with very little rivers and lakes.
With population growth the available land and water will shrink
further in the next twenty years.
If we do not launch an ambitious program to replant trees, to
preserve water and to care for our environment, in 20 years from
now we will be having wars over water and land.
This is a problem in many parts of the world.
We cannot let it happen here.
I will advocate an ambitious 20-year program investing at least
US$10 million a year on tree planting and water preservation.
We can plant trees that grow fast for fire wood.
We can plant trees that grow fast such as bamboo for export and
earn income for villagers.
We can also plant trees that will take 20 to 30 years to mature
such as teak and sandal wood.
Such a program can inject millions of dollars into our economy
HELPING STUDENTS AND YOUTH
Young people are our future.
That is why we must spend an additional US$10 million for students
I would propose that US$5 million be allocated in the form of
scholarships for secondary and university students.
This will enable the poorest families to provide their children
with an additional income to buy clothing, food and books.
Public schools are free but this is not enough if a student cannot
afford to buy food and books.
The other US$5 million would to set up Youth Centers with sports
facilities and Internet in all districts.
I will now talk about the complex and sensitivity issue of justice.
I have said many times that no one should put pressure on the
that we should avoid demonstrations to put pressure on the
Our justice system is under a lot of pressure because of the
pressure because of the many cases in front of them,
lack of information and evidence,
shortage of experienced personnel, etc.
Recently the Dili District Court passed a significant judgement
on the case of Mr. Rogerio Lobato with a 7 ½ year prison
Most people we surprised with this heavy sentence.
those who were critical and suspicious of our courts seemed
to have been pleased with the verdict.
I can only say again,
let us all be patient
let the judges handle all the cases without pressure from
and from the public.
Timorese people are a people deeply spiritual whose day to day
is inspired and influenced by the spirits of the past and by supernatural
beliefs that are fused with Christian beliefs.
For that reason we cannot import or impose modern beliefs from
that secularism or European culture that would disturb the symbiotic
relationship of Timorese and Catholic Church culture.
The Timorese Catholic Church is the only continuous institution,
solid, that has absorbed the fabric of Timorese.
In partnerhsip with our young State, it has helped us in this
it is helping us heal the wounds.
I salute with reverence and friendship our two Bishops, Dom Ricardo
and Dom Basilio, and through them all the Timorese and foreign
clerics serving in Timor-Leste.
The Church must continue to help us better serve the people of
Timor-Leste in all areas,
spiritual and moral.
I favour that the State should provide adequate funding to the
so it can more efficiently
assume a bigger role in the the spiritual and moral guidance
of our people
in the development of our youth
in the fight against poverty.
The State must make available to the Church, namely the Dioceses,
at least US$10 million to cover the expenses associated with its
It is not a favour.
it is an obligation of the State towards the oldest and
most credible institution in our Nation.
GOD, is the Creator and Lord of heaven and earth.
He is also, in the words of the Vatican Council, "omnipotent,
eternal, immense, incomprehensible, infinite in intellect and
will and in every perfection".
Timor-Leste is a Catholic Nation.
the Timorese love and fear God.
pray to God
to thank Him for the small mercies and to seek His help
in times of need.
Still, our Constitution has but two mentions to God, the Almighty
and the Merciful, in its Preamble,
one says that "interpreting the profound sentiments,
the aspirations and the faith in God of the People of Timor-Leste",
the other, in the oath of the President of the Republic
- "I swear to God
I defend that there should be an amendment to our Constitution
so that a meaningful reference to God, to the moral and spiritual
values that He teaches us because, after all, He is the definition
of that which is pure and righteous in all the universe.
MY ROLE AS PRESIDENT
The President, as you know, is not responsible for the day to
day management of the economy.
But the President has the duty and the right to speak out,
to propose ideas based on solid evidence.
If elected President it will be my mission
to help those who for centuries had very little,
or nothing at all.
It will be my mission
to eradicate needless poverty and suffering
to lend an ear to the oppressed
and to be their voice.
I passionately believe that a President cannot stay silent on
issues of poverty.
If we all agree that fight against poverty is a national cause,
then the President must lead the fight.
He must summon all the people of this country to wage this war,
the only war that is moral and ethical.
I regret that in the 10 months that I have served as Prime Minister
I have not been able to do more do help the poor
just as I regret that our government has done little to
help the poor over the last five years.
But the time for regrets has now passed, and it is time to move
to seize new challenges
We must keep in mind
that a government cannot be irresponsible and spend money
it does not have
and that we cannot make promises that we cannot keep.
The policy prescriptions I am advocating are the product of serious
of careful consideration.
They are affordable and the result of evidence-based approaches.
It should also be remembered that it is only in 2004 that we
began to see our budget increase.
Many criticize the government for poor budget execution.
This is true.
Our budget execution is very low.
That is why I will continue the struggle to remove the complex
regulations that our foreign advisers imposed on us
the last of our chains.
On Sunday, 25 February,
it was my great honor
to put myself forward to the Presidential elections.
It was the culmination of a life-long commitment to my people,
to my country.
I did it with the people of Laga
the poorest of the poor villages in Timor-Leste
and one of my childhood homes.
I was deeply humbled to be there.
I know that I have the capacities and capabilities to assume
the highest office in the land
and the deep support of so many small villages
Our nation is still fragile.
Its institutions are still weak.
Poverty is still widespread.
Justice has not yet been served.
I accept the call of the people
across the country and in Laga
to be the candidate to succeed Xanana Gusmão,
hero-son of our people.
Whatever happens on April 9 I will never abandon them.
May God, the Almighty and the Merciful bless you all.