(JollofNews) – The Government of The Gambia has stuck two fingers up at the United Kingdom Foreign and Commonwealth Office after it criticised the way and manner the country is being governed under the leadership of President Yahya Jammeh.
In its annual Human Rights and Democracy Report, which singles out the Gambia for its poor record, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said over the previous year the country was characterised by events of ‘unlawful detentions, illegal closures of newspapers and radio stations, discrimination towards minority groups and the lack of transparency and due process surrounding the executions of death row prisoners, which mark a disturbing deterioration in human rights and rule of law.’
However, responding to the report last night, the government said in a televised statement that it considers the issues raised in the report an insult on the country’s sovereignty, dignity, culture and or religion.
It also accused Britain of trying to imposed an agenda that ‘will make criminal lords overall law-abiding citizens or turn the Gambia which is a Muslim country into a sinful, abominable and disobedient country by allowing values that are of the greatest threat to human existence.’
The government added that the issues raised in the report on the Gambian media did not take the standard of professionalism and technical prowess of radio and print journalists in the country, which are long strides behind the professional, corporate, and technical levels of the industry in the UK.
It added that while it recognised the extant international and sub-regional protocols ‘it is also important to take into consideration the facts and conditions of the country’s cultural and political sovereignty’.
The Jammeh regime said: “The people of the Gambia object to homosexuality and all its tangential considerations on the ground of their culture and religion. A highly religious and God-fearing society such as ours (95 percent of who are Muslim) cannot encourage homosexuality to please any human right. Protecting Gambian society from the scourges of this phenomenon as a way of life has become the chosen duty of Gambians and their government.
“The United Kingdom Government thereby openly condemns the Gambian people, their religions and their culture in this regard and leaves little room for collaboration as partners in other important areas of development.”
The government added that all the issues highlighted in the report such as the ‘death penalty, detentions, censure of newspapers and radio stations, the sanctioning of voices intent on social destabilisation’ are soon remedied by consultation, collaboration and support to practitioners in the development of self-regulatory organisms and improved standards rather than the ‘apparently more desired effect of the all-out blackmailing of the Government of the Gambia while the abundant signs of progress and growth in the conditions of the people are ignored by the media and some others who are supposed to be partners in our development.’
Jammeh regime said it considers the remarks made by the British High Commissioner to the Gambia David Morley in the wake of the launch of the report as ‘provocative, disruptive and undiplomatic.’
“While the provocative, disruptive and undiplomatic design of the high commissioner’s attitude is clear, the Government of the Gambia would like to reiterate a long-standing philosophy to work harmoniously with those people and countries that love the Gambia and to leave alone those countries and people who will not work for the good of the Gambia,” it added.
The Jammeh regime further said: “History is full of evidence of European injustice and destruction of human life, land, flora and fauna which has left catastrophic consequences on rapid development and self-realisation of our country and people going into the 21st century.
“The evidence leaves many countries in the European Union, especially Britain without the moral authority to dictate moral standards of rectitude and democracy to any former colony in Africa.
“It should be abundantly clear by now in the minds of all partners that in every negotiation and in every agreement, the interest of people of the Gambia, and Africans in general, will come first. The sovereignty of this country will not be compromised and its people will not bow to the inimical values of others even though those were able to make their way by swaying majority and influence into international protocols.”