NATHAN DYER, TheKimberley
East Timor President Jose Ramos-Horta flew into Kununurra Friday for what was believed to be a private visit to the Kimberley.
Dr Ramos-Horta was travelling as a guest of airline Airnorth, the major sponsor for Saturday night’s concert on the banks of the Ord River.
After arriving on the 10.15am 3 Airnorth flight from Darwin, Dr Ramos-Horta was whisked away in a white four-wheel-drive to Home Valley Station on the Gibb River Road.
He then returned to Kununurra Saturday and perused the gems at Kimberley Pink Diamonds before attending the Kimberley Moon Experience.
The president received warm applause from the crowd after he was welcomed to the event in a speech by Ord Valley Muster committee head Frank Rodriguez.
Although it was not known if Jimmy Barnes’ unique form of Aussie rock was well-known in East Timor, Dr Ramos Horta was seen swaying politely to the popular anthems.
It was understood the Nobel Peace Laureate may have also met with State Government representatives to discuss training partnerships between East Timor and WA.
East Timor is seen by many in Western Australia’s north as a potential labour source to fill crucial shortages in regional industries including horticulture and agriculture, at the same time up-skilling the developing country’s young workforce.
Fifteen East Timorese are taking part in a pearl industry cadetship program in Broome, with plans to expand the program to include other industries across northern WA and the Northern Territory.