Subject: TLGOV: Council of Ministers listens to the ordinary citizen


MEDIA RELEASE Dili, November 18 2006

Timor-Leste’s Council of Ministers listens to the ordinary citizen

Thirty-nine-year old Cipriano Meneses is married to Juliana, they have four children and they live and work in the remote village of Beaco, in Timor-Leste’s Suai District. Cipriano is a humble, proud and hard-working man.

On Thursday last week the Prime Minister Dr José Ramos-Horta invited Mr Meneses to tell Timor-Leste’s powerful Council of Ministers all about the assistance he needs to build two community centres in two succos ­ or small villages ­ called Raimea and Zulo, both in the Zumalai sub district near his home. He had submitted detailed proposals for the projects to the Government in September.

It was the first time a member of the public had been invited to address the Government’s executive but Dr Ramos-Horta says he plans to invite more people to present their stories directly to the Council.

“I want us all to be aware of the special people that we represent,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

“It is all very well to have a written report in front of you, but when you meet gentle and humble people like Mr Meneses, it tends to make you sit up and take notice.”

An agriculture graduate from high school Mr Meneses worked in the Department of Agriculture from 1993 to 1999. Two years ago he set up a local Non-Government Organisation called Hametin lia tatoli with three full-time staff and several other part-timers. Irish Aid and the New Zealand Government have helped support the project.

Mr Meneses assists local farmers with agricultural advice, helps the village and surrounding area with matters of water supply and sanitation and he is currently working to rebuild and refurbish the local school.

“These are the heroes of Timor-Leste,” Dr Ramos-Horta said.

“We are a poor nation but we must do our best to help people like Mr Meneses. My colleagues in the Council of Ministers were impressed and moved by this man’s dedication.

“The Government will be addressing his request and I hope to have more members of the public appear directly before the Council.”

For further information please contact:

Joel Maria Pereira Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: Telephone: +670 7254740

Ivana Belo Information Officer Gabinete Primeiru Ministru Email: Telephone: +670 724 3559.

Julian Swinstead Communications/Media Advisor Office of the Prime Minister Email: Telephone: +670 732 7776.

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