A Personal Journey
From a man who contributed greatly to the betterment of Timor LesteRead More
Friday, June 23rd
Friday, June 23rd
Friday, June 23rd
Gino Ernesto Favaro was born in Darwin Australia and immigrated with his family at the age of 14 years to Timor Leste in Dec 1970 (the Island was called Portuguese Timor up until the Indonesian occupation in December 1975). As soon as the population voted for independence in Aug 1999 they changed the name to Timor Leste.
Timor Leste is approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes north north west from Darwin, Australia.
Now the Tiny Nation is called Timor Leste or in English, East Timor and had its re-independence on the 20th of May 2002 under the Administration of the United Nations.
Gino Ernesto Favaro was offered a very rare opportunity of donating the very first Independent National Ceremonial Flag to the people of Timor Leste.
There were many Diplomats, Presidents and Prime Ministers and invited guests to witness the raising of this tiny Nations Newly Independent First National Ceremonial Flag, on the first minutes of the new day of the 20th of May 2002 at Tasitolu just outside the capital Dili, Timor Leste.
Gino was evacuated out of Portuguese Timor on the 23rd of August 1975 with many other Australians back to Australia. His compassion to help the people of Timor Leste was immense and thus returned on the 4th of September 1975 to this lovely Island as a volunteer for the International Red Cross of Geneva.
There was an article in the Northern Territory News, Darwin Australia in September 1975 that Gino was the youngest member of the International Red Cross personal to be sent to Timor Leste to assist with the International Red Cross activities.
A part from the compassion to assist the people of Timor Leste his Father remained on the Island and Gino wanted to give his Dad a bit of company as well as be an International Red Cross Volunteer.
As the political situation in Timor Leste was increasing in intensity all Australians were advised to leave the Island whilst limited air travel was still possible, most of the last of the Australians accepted the October 1975 warnings and left the Island.
Gino departed on one of the last aircraft on the 29 October 1975.
In March of 1996 Gino asked his Father if he could attempt to retrieve the control of the Family properties from the Indonesian Administration in Timor Leste. The Provincial Indonesian Administration had occupied the Island from the 17th December 1975. The Indonesian Army had occupied the Family Hotel Dili from the first occupation in 1975 until Jan of 1978.
Gino’s Father reply was “I have not been successful, your younger brother has not been successful, your brother in law married to your older sister has attempted to obtain the properties as well and with no success, what makes you think that you can be successful in obtaining the properties from the Indonesian Government.”
Gino’s reply to his late Father was a simple answer “Dad I give you no guarantees of my success but I would like to be given is the opportunity as a last ditch attempt on behalf of the Family and give it a go. We have nothing to loose as you guys have all tried and failed, so why not let me see what I can do.”
Gino’s dad prepared the Exclusive and Comprehensive Power of Attorney with a copy of the Land documents and off he went to work.
Gino’s philosophy was “the power of the pen can be greater than the sword” so he wrote to all of those relevant Government Ministers, Political Members, Civil Society Representatives in Jakarta, Indonesia, Timor Leste and in Australia.
He waited with patience but as the months went by, he started to think that there was no hope of ever getting possession again. The 142 packages of information that he sent out with a covering letter pleading for help seemed so far to be a waste of time.
Gino wrote one last Letter including the package of information and sent it to the Indonesian Ambassador in Canberra, Australia. Two weeks went by, three weeks, four weeks, nothing.
Gino had not given up but was deliberating on his next form of action but what was he going to do.
Out of “thin air” or so it seemed came a letter, and the next day a phone call from Timor Leste.
Mr. Gino can you ring me back please maybe we have some good news.
The Indonesian Provincial Government of Timor Leste has handed the control of the properties to a representative of Gino’s in Timor Leste on the 1st of August 1998.
Gino contacted his Father and with great enthusiasm said “Dad I’ve done it, the control of the properties has been given to Jose in Timor Leste on my behalf I will be going over as soon as I can get leave from work”.
Nobody but nobody in Gino’s family believed Gino, they all thought he had been hallucinating on the thought of being successful.
Gino arrived in Kupang the Capital at the other end of the Island of Timor on the 22nd of August 1998 and the next day took a plane into Timor Leste.
“Fate, Do numbers really play a role in our lives ?” Gino left Timor Leste in an Official Evacuation on the 23rd August 1975 and headed back to Australia and on the 23rd of August 1998 was back in Timor Leste from Australia to be handed control of the properties.
Throughout almost the next twenty years of Gino’s Life it was spent, in Timor Leste Managing the Hotel Dili business and building a domestic LP Gas business and being involved in Business associations at the same time also looking at other commercial opportunities.
Gino and his partners accepted the contract to carry out a Bathymetric Survey of the Timor Sea, some 15,000 square kilometres. This we believe is the biggest Sea Bed survey ever carried out in the history of Timor Leste with such modern survey equipment. This survey was a 6 months, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week survey.
The survey we believe was to establish the contours of the ocean floor for educational purposes and to see if the Oil & Gas industry could lay Oil & Gas pipes on the ocean floor so they could bring these pipes to Timor Leste for processing of the Natural Gas, Gas Condensate and Crude Oil.
Gino was invited in the early period of his 20 years in Timor Leste to join the local Chamber of Commerce as one of the Vice Presidents for a few years until he resigned to establish with a number of colleagues a Tourism Association of Timor Leste.
Gino as the President including several members of the Executive Board of the Tourism Association Of Timor Leste were invited on regular occasions to be active participants in many “Round Table Conferences” to discuss Draft Regulation and Draft Laws being developed for the New Independent Nation.
I believe Gino resigned as the President of the Tourism Association of Timor Leste at the completion of 5 years. I think Gino’s wife leant on him a bit and mentioned that he had a choice, the Business Associations or the Family. He loves his wife too much so more time with her and the family seemed to be a better choice.