28 November 2013

We don't want to be refugees any more

Note: This is a report from 2008 but has been republished here for archive purposes.

DILI -ALthough the refugees in the Kolmera Jardin are ready to leave the camp, some of the refugees still object because the government has forbidden them from living in their houses because there is a new project to be undertaken.

“Our house is not far from the Rapid Response Unit Headquarters in Fatuhada. Now, the government has forbidden us from living in that house. Where will my family go?" said Paulino Amaral in a community dialogue in Bairo Pite with the President of the Repubic, Jose Ramos Horta on Thursday (15/5).

He asked this question to the President because he is confused after the government forbade him from returning to his original house. “I don't want to go from place to place. I am tired of being a refugee" he said.

He added that he does not want to meet the same fate as refugees from the Guido Valadares National Hospital. When they went to return home to the former Police training centre in Kaikoli, they were refused by the police.

The Secretary of State for Social Assistance and Natural Disasters, Jacinto Rigoberto Gomes de Deus, said that refugees whose houses were noted in a government program for other development, were not permitted to return to those houses.

But they can stay at a temporary place to wait for the government program to build a new suburb.

While those whose houses are not yet the subject of government intervention, they can go back to their original homes.

State Secretary Jacinto also announced to the whole community that previously lived in the old police training centres such as Kaikoli (next to the central office of the East Timor Electricity) or the one next to the old Mayor's office in Belarmino Lobo street, it is better if they find another place because these two locations are the subject of development by the government.

gec http://www.suaratimorlorosae.com/details.php?id=12792&now=2008-05-16 translation 17/05/08 by ww2008

East Timor Government’s Resolution which approves the Procurement Procedure for the project for the Establishment of the National Registry

28/11/2013 TLLS - At the Extraordinary Meeting of the Council of Ministers of 7 October 2013, the Government gathered extraordinarily in the Council of Ministers’ meeting room, at the Government’s Palace, in Dili, and approved, amongst other things, the following Government’s Resolution which approves the Procurement Procedure for the project for the Establishment of the National Registry:

This diploma authorises the Ministry of Justice to request, by invitation, a technical and financial proposal for the establishment of the National Registry of Timor-Leste, following the adopted specifications.

The development of the National Registry – which includes the survey and cadastral mapping of the territory, the establishment of a computerized database and the establishment of an asset evaluation’s system for taxation purposes – assumes a strategic relevance for national security, to the extent that deals with classified information.

This project also assumes greater relevance to the economic and social development of the country, since it depends upon the attribution of property titles in Timor-Leste which will allow the planning and development of important economy sectors, such as agricultural and industrial sectors, as well as planning of greater national projects, such as Suai’s Logistics Base, the International Airport, the International Port, amongst others.

Source: Government of East Timor Council of Ministers Press Release 07/10/2013

MoU between GoTL and GTLeste Biotech on Sugar Cane Project

NOTE: This is an old report from 2008 but has been archived here for historical purposes.



The purpose of this Memorandum of Understanding is to set forth the understanding between the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries and hereinafter referred to as Government, and GTLESTE BIOTECH, hereinafter, (the Parties), to cooperate in the pursuit of profitable investment opportunities in the Integrated Sugar Cane sector in Timor-Leste, according to the general terms set forth below:

A. The Government of Timor Leste is desirous of seeing the establishment and operation of profitable ventures in the Agro industry sector, including the set up of Sugar Cane Plant and Ethanol Plant;

B. GTLESTE BIOTECH, being a foreign investment company, has identified that an integrated Sugar Cane Industry are investment opportunities wherein it is willing to create the conditions to set up the implementation of said project, putting together the right professionals & experts in order to secure the necessary experience, technical and commercial expertise, financing and market.


C. The estimated total investment of the project is more than USD.$100.000.000, including the sugar cane plantation, sugar plant, ethanol plant, and power generation facility and residential facilities, which are expected to generate more than 2.000 regular employees and more than 8.000 labor
direct jobs;

D. The Government acknowledges the fact that it would like to have implemented in Timor-Leste such an important project;

E. The Government underlines how crucial it is for the approval and successful implementation of any project of sound supporting financial engineering. Hence, the Government underlines, it is for an Integrated Sugar Cane Project of such a magnitude;

F. GTLESTE BIOTECH will take full responsibility for any loan guarantees required to finance the business venture;

G. The Government will grant the company the exclusive concession of 100.000 hectares of unproductive land and to be utilized for sugar plantation (land site as per attached), sugar plant and ethanol plant. The Government will not have to come up with any capital cost. The entire integrated project’s set up costs in Timor Leste and in other country will be borne by the company or by the cooperation it subsequently set up to run the entire business properly;

H. The Government shall accord the company a 50 (fifty) years contract to land use, operate and cultivate the sugar plantation, sugar plant, ethanol plant and other supporting facilities, and extendable to another 50 (fifty years) contract. The duration of the first 50 (fifty) years contracted awarded will be irrevocable due to the high investment costs incurred by the company;

I. The government will support in providing all necessary incentives, export excess of the company product, licenses, permits for sugar plantation, sugar plant, ethanol plant and its derivative products ;

J. The Government will guarantee the exclusive rights suitable land use for sugar cane plantation for the first 10 (ten) years in Timor Leste due to the high cost of building the supporting infrastructure, training and development of the direct & indirect labors.

K. GTLESTE BIOTECH will be staffed by qualified personnel from Timor Leste and or experienced Indonesian assisted also by other foreign technician it necessary;

L. However, the Government stresses that, at this stage, with the level of information available, this such project are strictly private ventures, with no State participation of any sort, whatsoever;

M. GTLESTE BIOTECH will establish training & development centre for maintenance, mechanics, and agriculture in order to transfer technology.

N. GTLESTE BIOTECH will support Timor Leste total consumption of sugar and ethanol with reasonable prices;

O. GTLESTE BIOTECH will participate the district electricity supplies from the excess of electricity power from the company’s plants;

P. GTLESTE BIOTECH will provide community facilities such as clinics and sporting areas.

Q. Entirety. This MOU constitutes the entire understanding and agreement between the Parties hereto and their affiliate with respect to the subject matter contained herein, and supersedes all prior or contemporaneous agreements, representations, warranties and understandings of such parties (whether oral or written). No promise, inducement, representation or agreement, other than as expressly set forth herein, has been made to or by the
Parties hereto.

R. Construction. This MOU shall be construed according to its fair meaning and not strictly for or against either Party. This letter does not, and is not intended to impose any binding obligations on the Parties beyond the intent and promise herein stated.

S. Confidentiality. All information and documents supplied by one Party to any other pursuant to this MOU shall be treated as confidential by the Parties and shall not be disclosed to any third party without expressed written consent of the Party who supplied the information or document. The restrictions and obligations of this Article shall expire two (2) years after the termination of this Memorandum of Understanding.

T. Extension and Modification. The Parties may extend or modify the content of this MOU by mutual agreement.

U. Duration. This Memorandum of Understanding is valid for two years from the date of its signature below.

V. This MOU is not intended to create any legal obligations by either party. The proposed project is subject to and conditional upon GTLESTE BIOTECH meeting all legal requirements set out by the laws of the Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste with respect to the proposed project.

If the terms and conditions of this MOU are acceptable, please sign and return to us an original of this letter so that we can proceed with further discussions.

Done and signed in Dili. Timor-Leste, on the 15th January of 2008.

/s/ Mariano ASSANAMI Sabino
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

Accepted and Agreed:
/s/ By Gino Sakiris   Chairman

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Massive East Timor land-for-biofuel plan raises hackles

Massive East Timor land-for-biofuel plan raises hackles

NOTE: This is an old report from 2008 but has been archived here for historical purposes.

24/06/08 DILI (AFP) — East Timor's government is under fire over an agreement to turn more than a sixth of the country's arable land over to a 100 million dollar foreign-funded ethanol project.

The Fretilin opposition has branded as a "land giveaway" a memorandum of understanding between the agriculture minister and GTLeste Biotech for a 100,000 hectare (247,000 acre) sugar plantation and ethanol plant.

The agreement with the little-known Indonesian company guarantees at least 100 million dollars in investment in return for granting GTLeste a 50-year lease over a swathe of "unproductive land" with an option for 50 years more.

The government is touting the move as a major potential source of foreign cash which could generate more than 2,000 jobs.

But opposition agriculture spokesman Estanislau da Silva told AFP the plan was made with little public consultation and could threaten food production in the impoverished and overwhelmingly agrarian country.

"They say they are going to plant sugarcane on unproductive land. Where in the world can you plant sugarcane on unproductive land?" da Silva said.

"The intention itself is very suspicious and goes against what we are doing in terms of development and increasing food production and food reliance," he said.

"Two thousand jobs means nothing to me when you give away 100,000 hectares."

"What worries us is firstly the process. For a project as big as this ... the government should consult before signing the contract," said Maximus Tahu from independent development watchdog La'o Hamutuk.

Although estimates are difficult to make, the 100,000 hectares proposed for the project comprises at least one-sixth of land that can be farmed in East Timor, including farms already in use, Tahu said. Fretilin puts the figure at one-quarter.

"We have learned from other countries that sugar cane plantations will have negative impacts on agriculture and farmers' lives. More than 80 percent of Timorese are farmers, they live on agriculture, so the land is very important for them," he said.

"Our concern is the project will contribute to the destruction of land fertility."

The government has brushed aside the criticism, saying discussions are in the early stages and no fixed site has been found for the plantation.

Environment Minister Mariano Sabino said critics of the plan had been spreading "false propaganda" that the government had already agreed to give the land to GTLeste.

"Whoever wants to discuss this, sure let's discuss this. But don't carry out false campaigns and lie that the ministry has already provided the land," he said Monday.

The ethanol plan would bring much-needed investment into rural East Timor, Sabino said.

East Timor, which gained formal independence in 2002 after 24 years of often brutal Indonesian occupation, is one of the poorest countries in Asia, with roughly 50 percent unemployment.

Soaring global oil prices and fears of global warming have led to a boom in the production of biofuels, which are mostly made from crops such as oil palms, sugarcane and soybeans.

However, scientists have questioned the environmental benefits of biofuels, saying production can encourage land clearing as well as divert food crops, pushing up global food prices.

Related post
MoU between GoTL and GTLeste Biotech on Sugar Cane Project