Carrascalão's resignation letter 6:th of September 2010

Tempo Semanal is pleased to provide to readers an unofficial translation from Portuguese into English of the contents of the resignation letter of former Vice Prime Minister (VPM) Carrascalão leaked to this newspaper early today.

In the letter VPM Carrascalão responds to many of the allegations made against him by the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers. He also outlines the full range of problems facing the country and in some parts blames the governing coalition and the Prime Minister himself for many of them.

Readers may make up their own minds.

His Excellency Mr. Kay Rala Xanana Gusmão
Prime Minister of the Government of the RDTL


In a letter dated 24 April 2009, or about a little more than one month after having been sworn in as Deputy Prime Minister Coordinator for State Administration Matters, on one of the few occasions I had to this date of being received by your Excellency, I handed you a memorandum, where I stated that I had identified until that date 29 matters, to which I called your attention. They were as follows:

  1. Corruption, nepotism and collusion, commonly known as KKN, continue to stridently increase, with the corrupt protecting one another, in an increasingly sophisticated way. Everyone talks about fighting corruption, but in the moment of truth arrives only a few, a very few, have the courage to maintain themselves in the front line.
  2. Domestic violence continues to be given space to continue to increase and oxygen to give it life.
  3. Those principally responsible for the 2006 crisis and its consequences continue to remain free as birds.
  4. Our balance of trade continues to remain dramatically in the negative.
  5. The purchasing power of the majority of Timorese has not improved. It has remained stagnant.
  6. Foreigners are increasingly dominating commerce.
  7. There is practically no Timorese industry.
  8. Agriculture has been flooded with tractors but these are not being properly used. They poured millions of dollars from the State’s coffers but in much of Timor-Leste famine remains a constant threat.
  9. Tourists avoid Timor-Leste because conditions to receive them have not yet been established so that Timor-Leste is an attractive/interesting destination.
  10. Many children of school age still do not attend school. There is still no compulsory education policy. There is a lack of schools and those that exist continue ill provided for or ill equipped of teaching aids.
  11. The uncontrolled manner with which new universities are emerging and the growing number of new graduates is proportionally greater than the number of job places being created.
  12. Land transport means are degraded and lack the capacity to respond to the demand in the country, either in quality or quantity.
  13. There are many areas in Timor-Leste still not covered by the telecommunications network. Where there are the cost of these services are very high.
  14. Overseas air transport is totally controlled by foreign companies that have flights to Timor-Leste without reciprocity. In the meantime the Baucau international airport remains practically abandoned.
  15. Timor-Leste’s air space is not being controlled and our maritime borders are being constantly breached.
  16. Pulmonary tuberculosis has not been given the attention it deserves and there are no proper facilities to treat those that have contracted the disease.
  17. HIV/AIDS continues to spread dangerously. The preventive measures that have been adopted have been insufficient to stop its expansion.
  18. Unemployment continues to grow, as does the immigration of foreign workers.
  19. Discriminatory laws that thereby breach human rights of the Timorese protected in the Constitution of Timor-Leste, drafted by the first three governments, enacted by the parliament and proclaimed by the President of the Republic remain in force. These were adopted by the AMP government as if its own.
  20. We still do not have a Land Law because some unnamed interests in a manner detrimental to the general population have transformed issue of land into a monster.
  21. The capital of Dili remains without an urbanization plan. The plan exists, but like most things in our country, it remains in some irresponsible persons drawer whilst they prefer to see the city without order because it favors their interests.
  22. Discriminatory concepts such as “mestico” (term for mixed blood Timorese), “pure blood Timorese”, “Timorese from the diaspora”, “integrationist”, “autonomist”, “collaborationist”, “Maputo group”, “Melbourne mafia” etc etc increasingly form part of the vocabulary of our demagogues.
  23. The National Parliament in which the AMP retains a majority of seats has problems producing new laws that guarantee Timor-Leste’s status as a democratic state under the rule of law.
  24. Justice is still not functioning to the satisfaction of our people. It lacks credibility because it travels through turbid waters in its implementation of laws.
  25. Impunity seems to have been introduced as a new element in our culture. Those who breach law and order are becoming accustomed to the idea that “crime pays.”
  26. Power continues to be concentrated in Dili, because administrative reform has been moving at “crab’s pace.” Difficult days ahead must be anticipated.
  27. The administrative bureaucracy practiced in Timor-Leste, if not the worst, is at least, one of the slowest in the world. It suffers from an excessive complexity and as a consequence, slowness. Almost nothing is done in a reasonable time, as previously established. Our bureaucracy reminds me of what use to happen in Spain in days gone by, when someone tired of waiting for a train at a station asked the station staff when the train would be arriving would get the answer: hombre, the train will arrive when it arrives.
  28. As the case with previous governments, the current government also is made up of watertight compartments, where each ministry trails its own path only crossing with others by accident.
  29. We are still giving little attention to empirically transferring “know how” from international advisors, paid in weights of gold, to the Timorese. The creation of positions for Timorese advisors would resolve this question and save the state of Timor-Leste millions of dollars.

In a report publicly presented to the government in September 2009, in the presence of diplomatic representatives of friendly nations accredited in Timor-Leste, UNMIT, Timorese and foreign Non Government Organizations and other individuals, in a seminar held at the Ministry of Foreign affairs meeting hall, in which your Excellency was also present, I presented the difficulties I had faced with space and shortage of staff in the 5 months in which I had been in the post in carrying out my mission as set out in Decree Law No. 14 of $ March 2009 and other duties attributed either by the Council of Ministers through decree laws or resolutions or even by mere dispatch of the Prime Minister, as well as the results achieved, challenges and other objectives to be reached.

Regarding the results achieved I informed the following:

  1. A new structural law for the inspectorate general of the state was created, which conferred on the inspectorate greater independence in auditing the accounts of the state and in its inspections of the government;
  2. The establishment of mechanisms of inter-ministerial and inter-agency coordination, including:
    1. Inter-ministerial Commission for Rural Development;
    2. Inter-ministerial Commission for Physical Projects;
    3. Inter-ministerial Commission for Special Investments;
    4. Monthly meetings with Ministers and Secretaries of State;
    5. Visits to Ministries and Secretariats of State;
    6. Coordination of activities of institutions with the mandate of fighting against corruption before the establishment of the Anti Corruption Commission; etc etc.

Regarding the challenges and obstacles, I told of conscious the difficulties I was going to encounter in accepting the position of deputy PM Coordinator for State Administration Matters but I accepted because I wanted to contribute to the administrative reforms on course. Overall, I verified in during five months that the majority of measures taken to that date were met with silence, disinterest and passivity of many. The majority of the 60 memorandums addressed to the ministers and secretaries of state went unanswered. One of the great challenges which I encountered was that some sought protection offered by hierarchy for their own personal interests.

As far as the objectives to be achieved in the area of implementing my duties I reported the following:

  1. The adoption of a Governance Strategy, including an Anti Corruption Strategy;
  2. Development of regional cooperation (with Australia, Indonesia, Singapore) on anti-corruption;
  3. Creation of Strategic Plan for decentralization;
  4. Establishment of a functional and efficient procurement service;
  5. Development of a Strategic Plan for the Office of the deputy PM;
  6. Establishment of a functional mechanism to facilitate regular meetings with civil society;
  7. Establishment of better mechanisms of coordination with ministries and secretariats of state;
  8. Establishment of a special investment agency;
  9. Simplification of the administrative processes of the government and the betterment of the public service;
  10. Creation of a Unit with functional and efficient inspection and auditing of ministries and secretariats of state.

In order to implement the objectives set out, the office of the deputy PM – CAGAE began to take on support from foreign and Timorese specialists funded by Australia, the European Union, the USA and the state budget. The office of the deputy PM started to have the conditions to undertake many of its obligations so as not to delude the expectations of the Timorese when your Excellency decided to invite me to join the government. But, the improvement in the sufficiency of material means and human resources of high quality in the office of the deputy PM and the consequent increase in activity, in the efficiency and the productivity of my office was accompanied by increasingly hostile actions on the part of some members of the government, whose positions began to become more vulnerable also making their actions more visible and so susceptible of being called to account for themselves. In the face of such a situation, made worse by the unavailability of the Prime Minister to meet fortnightly with his deputy Prime Ministers. As is stipulated in the Government Structural Law, as well as during his long domestic trips, the silence and or passivity revealed in relation to acts of irresponsibility, the disrespect shown by the Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers and his staff, created the substratum for some waited for the day when they could see themselves free of the deputy PM for State Administration Management matters. It was with all this in mind and reluctant of a deterioration of the situation that I decided to write you a letter in the first fortnight of August, handed to you by hand during a meeting granted by you after a gap of months, which letter contained a short summary of what had been occurred and where I requested that you give me an opportunity to meet with you to discuss the best way to move forward together for the rest of the time the AMP has to complete its mandate. The said meeting took place with cordiality and despite it being over an hour in duration I did not hear the smallest of criticism from the Prime Minister regarding my method of work. I do not therefore believe, the state of spirit of the Prime Minister in the way he screamed at me loudly in the Council of Ministers meeting when I signaled for him to hear me because the speech he was making was not corresponding with the truth, was a spontaneous act but an act influenced by information received from those with their own interests, sufficient proof of which exists in the media release in the name of the government which is full of lies authored by the Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers.

Everything that happened in the Council of Minister’s meeting, one can say, without margin for error was an internal disagreement within the government and resolvable by the AMP presidential council, in fact because I as a member who is loyal to the principles of the PSD, which states that for the PSD all political problems can and should be resolved through dialog, instead of physical or verbal violence.

The Prime Minister did not state during the meeting or during the council of minister’s meeting when he screamed at me emotionally what he came to do during a public meeting with the Dili sub district population. He did so as a personal attack so as to damage my personal dignity. Had he done so deliberately with some truth for which I am responsible, but no, he ignored the truth, when someone asked him over the alleged loss of US$3 million in the Ministry of Finance, he did not try to find out the truth, and pulverized the masses with untruths people told him about me. If the Prime Minister or his collaborators had red the newspapers, they would certainly discover what I did was to order that an investigation be undertaken regarding the veracity of a statement made in the National Parliament by the illustrious deputy (member of parliament) Antonio (in fact Inacio) Moreira from the FRETILIN party and then published on the front page of newspapers in the capital. TVTL covered the insults and slander spoken by the PM that the Secretary of State for the Council of Ministers expected.

At the age of 73 this is the first time anyone has ever called me beikteen (tetum: stupid) or bosokteen (tetum: liar). As a normal citizen, he who did so has the freedom to repeat it as many times as he wants, because he will have a response of the same caliber. But the PM of an AMP government supported by PSD, will not have the opportunity of repeat these insults or slander as he did. I WILL NOT RESPOND IN WORDS, TO PERSONAL ATTACKS, BECAUSE MY MANNERS DO NOT PERMIT ME TO DO THIS. MY RESPONSE IS TO RESIGN FROM MY POSITION OF DEPUTY PRIME MINISTER FOR COORDINATION OF STATE ADMINISTRATION MANAGEMENT MATTERS AND LOOK TO SERVE MY COUNTRY WHERE I CAN BE USEFUL AND BE RESPECTED BY WHOMEVER WILL BE MY SUPERIOR IN HIERARCHICAL TERMS.

As a final note and for all to secure the interests of the state, I request your Excellency that in as short a time as possible, you order an inspection/audit of my office covering all areas of interest to the state so that the handover of my portfolio is done in a responsible way and that there will be no inventions after my exit so as to denigrate my dignity.

I am Your Excellency, Respectfully yours,

Dili, 6 September 2010

Engineer Mario Viejas Caracalla

Cc: His Excellency the President of the RDTL