Sunday, September 21, 2008

All in the FAMILY: But weren't FAMILIES a bad thing according to the Chief of Mission Services. What happened in the end?

15 January 2007
Never have so many names been given to the same U.N. mission. And never so many shifting senior officials were appointed to such a same place.
East Timor, or Timor Leste as it is now officially known, had at least five changing U.N. missions with almost identical objectives within the last five years. The latest incarnation was on 25 August 2006 when it went from UNOTIL to UNMIT. An appropriate Security Council resolution (number 1704) was obtained with a mandate until 25 March 2007.
No problem, as our Jamaican friends would say. In fact, some of the best administrations spent the initial period of creation there. Our beloved Sergio Vieira de Millo of Brazil, the Ambassador Kamalesh of India made it a true U.N. success story. Eventually, political expediency became the general rule. Last year's riots exposed a glaring gap in U.N. performance as appointments there, like elsewhere, were increasingly linked to political expediency. That is a question, serious as it is, for another debate.
Right now we would like to raise one question of Peacekeeping "family planning" there.
Major General Anis Bajwa holds a D-2 post as Director of Change Management (whatever that means) in the Department of Peacekeeping Operations at U.N. Headquarters in New York. The Pakistani General spent some time last year in Timor Leste when the mission was called UNOTIL. As he was leaving back to New York in August, his son, Hammad Bajwa, arrived to join the now changed mission, UNMIT. General Bajwa served as Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary General for Security Support and Rule of Law (don't smile!). His son is still serving among the 34 "volunteers".
Mind you, staff rules are observed, though ironically evaded. Missions do not precisely fall under the Secretariat rule of father and son / husband and wife joint employment. Also, U.N. volunteers are under UNDP, giving it a flexible pattern. But doesn't it somehow raise a question of propriety? A senior official in Peacekeeping having his son placed in a Peacekeeping mission? We are told that the local press in Dilli is fully aware of the story but is "too scared" to report it. UNMIT (U.N. Integrated Mission in Timor Leste) is composed mainly of military police (about one thousand to 1,600) supported by 87 international civilians and 227 locals. No striving Timorese journalist would wish to take on a senior General in New York who almost ran his vulnerable country as Chief of Security Sector Support (and Rule of Law, remember!).
There were other cases using Peacekeeping missions, special funds and programmes to place their close relatives, averting rules and regulations. Staff know most of these cases very well to a point that they jokingly refer to them as Special U.N. Family Planning. The most notorious case over the last few years was that of then Chef de Cabinet Iqbal Riza and his son Imran's P-5. By the way, it was Mr. Riza who managed to place General Bajwa in his D-2 post. But that's another story.

Monday, September 15, 2008

What Lies between Dili and Bangkok? A Sea of Rice. Worth $103 200 000?

This is a story about what appears to be a very quiet Bangkok-Dili rice deal for $25 800 000-$103 200 000.

Timor is suffering from too little of something and too much of something - in this case rice. Everywhere you go there is rice. Rice here, rice there, rice seemingly everywhere. Some at 16.50 a bag some at much more. In any event it is all about rice. Keep people content with full bellies. "Rice and Circuses" one pundit has noted.

A senior Minister of the Government of Timor-Leste flew back and forth between Timor and Europe in mid August at the time in question. Read below in blue....

Tuesday August 19, 2008


New support for rice prices


The government plans to begin another rice-pledging scheme in November for the main paddy crop in a bid to shore up domestic rice prices.

Commerce Minister Chaiya Sasomsab said the pledging price would be no less than the 14,000 baht per tonne offered currently for second-crop paddy.

Mr Chaiya said earlier that the price could be as high as 15,000 baht a tonne for regular paddy and 19,000 baht for jasmine rice paddy.

However, exporters warned that proposed higher prices might affect export competitiveness, given the high price gap between Thai rice and rice from other countries.

The government bought 1.2 million tonnes of paddy _ equivalent to around 720,000 tonnes of milled rice _ from farmers under a buying scheme for the second crop that started on June 15. Purchases are due to end on Sept 30.

Mr Chaiya also said that the government was confident it could clear the entire 2.1 million tonnes of rice in its old stockpile, and another 1.2 million tonnes bought from the latest pledging scheme.

The government yesterday agreed to sell 120,000 tonnes of 15% white rice to Timor-Leste. Thailand will deliver the first lot of 30,000 tonnes under a government-to-government deal at $860 per tonne, with the remainder to be handled by private exporters.

Last week, the government signed a letter of intent to sell 100,000 tonnes of 25% white rice a year via private exporters under a three-year contract with Djibouti.


120 000 x $860 = $103 200 000!

This would make it the largest purchase (or eries of purchases in modern Timorese history....

Who signed the MOU with who? Where is a copy? What does it say? Was it a good price? What are terms of payment? What are terms of delivery? In what manner will the 90 000 tons to be privately handled actually be "handled"?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Happier Days

In wake of the Popular Consultation in 1999. Taur Matan Ruak, Xanana Gusmao, and Leandro Isaac.

By 2006 Leandro Isaac was involved in an attack on the residence of Taur Matan Ruak on 24 May 2006 as part of the 2006 Krize.
Read about it here. Brigadier Ruak's F-FDTL believe Xanana largely behind that crisis.

By 2008 Isaac became very ill and the Government sent him for care in Surabaya. Joining others in the "I need health care abroad" treadmill

Saturday, September 13, 2008


Bio-Fuels. Increasingly all the rage in Timor. Read here for more

But who owns the south coast project by GT LESTE?

Here they are. Got any questions? I guess you can just call them.
It is even a matter for discussion in the Australian Senate

The Leader of the Australian Greens (Senator Bob Brown), pursuant to notice of
motion not objected to as a formal motion, moved general business notice of motion
no. 143—That the Senate asks the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Smith) to assess
the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Timor Leste and
GT Leste Biotech for a 100 000 hectare sugar plantation and ethanol plant to ensure
Australian funds are not involved if there are adverse social or environmental
Question put.
The Senate divided—

Bob Brown (Australian Greens) Hansard source
I move:
That the Senate asks the Minister for Foreign Affairs (Mr Smith) to assess the memorandum of understanding between the Government of Timor Leste and GT Leste Biotech for a 100,000 hectare sugar plantation and ethanol plant to ensure Australian funds are not involved if there are adverse social or environmental consequences.
Question put.
Add your comment
9:46 am

John Faulkner (Australian Labor Party, Cabinet Secretary) Hansard source
Mr President, I seek leave to make a short statement in relation to the motion the Senate has just dealt with.
Leave granted.
I note that Senator Brown’s notice of motion relates to a memorandum of understanding between the Timor Leste government and an Indonesian company. The Australian government is not in a position to assess memorandums of understanding between other parties. I can say to the Senate that the government is not currently aware of any Australian Commonwealth funding for this project.
Add your comment

Bob Brown (Australian Greens) Hansard source
I seek leave to make a brief statement.
Leave granted.
I thank Senator Faulkner for that information. The motion sought to ensure that no Australian government funding does go into this very contentious proposal for 100 hectares of food producing land in Timor Leste to be taken over by a company for the production of ethanol. I will be further seeking to ensure that Australian public funds are not given to that purpose.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Anti-Corruption - the Lu Olo Precedent

This is the only declaration of assets ever made public in Timor-Leste. Made by President of FRETILIN during the Presidential Election in 2007. It seems odd that a 2000 model Prado 4WD is only worth $5000 in 2007 but it is the thought that counts. Love FRETILIN or hate it - this was a step in the right direction.. Will any other politician or senior civil servant follow this example....? Recently sacked SAMES finance director Joanico Goncalves might be an interesting case.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Timor-Leste: Ro Funu Shanghai Class - Good Deal or not?

These are pictures of the Type - 62 Shanghai Class patrol boats that Timor is buying from China. The front and back cannon can fire 4000 m is distance and 3000 m in height. Pretty strong stuff for fuel/timber smugglers.

According to (

"The Type 62 (NATO codename: Shanghai-II class) is a small gun patrol boat. Over 300 examples were built between 1982 and 1988 for both PLA Navy and foreign customers. It is believed that about 100 boats are still in operational and reserve service with the PLA Navy. The Type 62C has two twin-barrel 37mm antiaircraft artillery (AAA) guns and two twin-barrel 25mm AAA guns. The boat could also carry eight deep charges for antisubmarine warfare (ASW), and/or six mines for mine warfare. The Type 62 is only suitable for costal patrol, and cannot be deployed far from the homeport. The self reliance endurance of the boat is 7 days."

Does this mean that these boats cannot do long range fisheries patrol? If so it seems a waste of the 28 million RDTL plans to spend....

These are old model boats. I hope that ones that come are at least new.

According to (

"There were also some major shortcomings of the [early] Type 62. It was a small patrol craft designed and build in China during the 1960s. The first production model offered horrible conditions for its crew it had no air-conditioning, an essential necessity for patrols on the South China Sea [and it would seem the Timor Sea as well] . Each crew bunk bed was only 2 square meters and allowed no room for any personal items. Its water tank could only contain 5 tons of fresh water, a crew of 40 could only last a week at sea. Loud engine noise and very limited living space took a great toll on the crew’s endurance.

Other shortcomings included: short operational range; navigation and communication equipment were almost none-existent, and its bridge offered very low visibility. It could not venture far off shore nor stand any chance in actions against large well equipped enemy ships. It is a low-cast patrol boat designed for rapid wartime production; it was no surprise that both the hull and the engine had a very limited lifespan. Its engines were only capable of 300 to 400 operational hours. [alot of maintenance in Hera Port] The design allowed Daling shipyard produce a Type 62 from start to finish in one month."

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Sunday, September 7, 2008