Radical Festival marks inauguration of a section of the first motorway in Timor-Leste

Radical Festival marks inauguration of a section of the first motorway in Timor-Leste

Timor-Leste hosts a massive six-day festival in November that includes a number of radical activities ahead of the inauguration of part of the country's first motorway in the Suai region, southwest of the capital Dili.

The Secretary of State for Youth and Sports, Nelio Isaac Sarmento, explained that the six-day festival, which runs from November 12 to 17, encompasses sport, music, culture and adventure.

"Suai Extreme is an ambitious project for Timor-Leste. Over six days in November 2018, thousands of East Timorese will participate in or support the twelve events that make up the festival in general," he explained.

"Some of these events will be held for the first time in the history of Timor-Leste," he said, noting that the event is an opportunity to showcase what the country has evolved since the restoration of independence in 2002.

Mixed martial arts, motocross, off road, a rally that will visit both sides of the border between Timor-Leste and Indonesia, paragliding and even rooster fights are part of the festival which includes a marathon, a half marathon and a 10 thousand meters.

Besides the participation of national and international athletes in various modalities, Suai Extreme will bet on a wide involvement of the local community, with sports competitions, a food and coffee fair, as well as other musical events.

"It is with great pleasure that we invite our international friends to participate. I hope that hundreds of people from all over the region and from other countries will join us in this incredible celebration," said Nélio Isaac.

The motorway, a 151.6 kilometer, two-way link between Suai and Beaço villages along the south coast, is still under construction, but the first stretch – 30.4 kilometers between Suai and Fatukai – is almost over.

The work is part of a more ambitious project known as Tasi Mane (Sea Man, a reference to the busiest sea on the south coast, in contrast to the Tasi Feto, or Sea Woman, the quieter north coast).

Tasi Mane is a development project for the entire southern coast of the country that includes the construction of the Suai Support Base – logistic, residential and industrial zones – the Betano refinery, a Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) , a port and the pipeline to the Greater Sunrise field in the Timor Sea.

To strengthen its defense of the East Timor gas pipeline option, rejected by several oil companies involved in the Greater Sunrise, the Timorese Government reached an agreement in September for the purchase of ConocoPhillips' 30% stake in the consortium.

This operation has already been approved by the Council of Ministers, but will have to be entered in the public accounts for 2019, which should reach the National Parliament in early November and which will also have to be approved by parliament.

In addition to the stretch of the freeway, the Government has also built the new Suai airport, which has been used only for some domestic flights and since September as a 'stopover' between Darwin in northern Australia and the platforms in the Timor Sea.

Estimates from the Timorese organization La'o Hamutuk point out that the motorway has already cost 200 million, with budgets still being for the first stretch of 105 million dollars between 2018 and 2020.

This would imply that the cost of the first 30 kilometers of the work was 10.17 million per kilometer.

There are still three sections of the connection, the 34.3 kilometers between Faticai and Dotik, the 42 kilometers between Dotik and Buikarin and the 36 kilometers between Buikaran and Beaço.

If the price per kilometer remains, the Government will still have to spend approximately another $ 1.2 billion in the work, notes La'o Hamutuk.

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