FOROYAA Newspaper (Serrekunda)

14 January 2013

Gambia: Views of Gambians On the 17 Point Demand of the European Union

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Mr Lamin Jatta, a student at the University of the Gambia, reading Political Science, advised the Gambia Government to abide by the 17 points of the European Union .

He said the Government should not have any qualms with that since it is for the benefit of the Gambian people. He opined that if the (EU) realizes that Gambia Government is not adhering to the provisions they have agreed upon, the (EU) is duty bound to remind the Gambia about the provisions of the agreement.

He expressed concern about the deteriorating human rights situation in the Gambia and concluded by urging the Gambian authorities to respect human rights and release Imam Baba Leigh and cooperate with the EU proposals which could only help the country to improve on its human Rights record..

Amie Darbo a 35-year-old resident of Bakoteh, on her part, asserted that the (EU) is right to pursue Gambia to enforce the 17 points, because when they were signing and ratifying the provisions, they knew full well that these provisions are very important for any democratic government. She said that was why they have agreed and signed. She also added that the government should implement them. "Since they have signed the agreement, let the Gambia Government enforce the points to enable them continue to receive support from the (EU) because Gambia cannot afford to be in bad terms with an influential continent like the (EU) that's unacceptable", She opined. She further went on to say that both the Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentarians should know the repercussions of what the (EU) is stating, therefore, she said, the Gambia Government should not see it as an insult but take them as measures to enforce to make Gambia a democratic state. She also concluded by urging the Gambian authorities to re-open Taranga Fm Radio, Daily newspaper, and The Standard Newspaper.

Mr. Lamin Bah, a 40-year old man and a resident of Pipeline, postulated that it is true that the Gambia signed and ratified the agreement between the Government and the European Union which called for Political Dialogue but the (EU) should have been more professional and diplomatic towards conducting a peaceful relation with its partners. He further stated that the (EU) should have negotiated with the government of the Gambia instead of issuing ultimatums, because Gambia is a Sovereign Republic. He intimated that, if the (EU) is really ready to provide the funds to the Gambia as agreed by both parties, they should dialogue and negotiate rather than undermine the peace and security of the Gambia. Mr. Bah also further posited that if, the (EU) does not want to grant the aid to the Gambia, let them leave it and stop the provocations, he concluded.

Mr. Sekou Singhateh, a 33-year-old man, on his part, acknowledged the fact that the agreement was signed by the Gambia, but that does not mean they should impose conditions on the Gambia He also went on to say that there may be ramifications and repercussions if the government of the Gambia does not comply, it would be very detrimental towards the socio-economic development of the Gambia. He further postulated that it would only lead to the drastic price increment of basic commodities and taxes for Gambians, he concluded.

Mrs. Ida Jatta, a 35-year-old woman and a resident of Serekunda also expressed similar sentiments regarding the EU/ Gambia relations. According to Mrs. Jatta, the (EU) should negotiate with the Gambia .She said the EU could incite violence and in that vein, Ida Jatta said, the Government of the Gambia should engage them in dialogue and negotiate peacefully to reach a mechanism to enable them continue to support the Gambia, because she said, the funds will go a long way towards improving the Socio-economic development of the Gambia. She further opined that it would help to curb the issue of skyrocketing of basic commodities and urges the Gambia Government to try and re-open Taranga FM Radio, Daily newspaper, and Standard Newspapers respectively. Mrs. Jatta summed up by urging both parties to come to the negotiating desk and use diplomacy for a peaceful agreement.

Mr. Lamin Trawally, a 38-year-year old man and also dilated on the issues regarding the EU/Gambia statements. According to Mr. Trawally, the Gambia Government should concur with the (17) seventeen points issued by the (EU). He also stipulated that the agreement was done in Cotonou in 2000 and renewed in 2005. He opined that putting into consideration the Human rights situation in the Gambia and based on the fact that the status of media freedom is a cause for concern, and further highlighting that the (EU) has sponsored many development projects in the Gambia, he said it means that the EU is working cordially with the people and the Gambia Government and in that case, the Government should concur with them for the best interest of the country, he concluded.

And according to one old woman who is in her late 50s but choose to remain anonymous on her part, said the Gambia Government should just try and accept the 17 points raised by the (EU) so that the country would benefit from the (EU) because he said the (EU) is doing a lot for the Gambia. He said if they should stop granting aid to the Gambia, it would drastically affect our economy. She further dilated that the people should pray and negotiate with them for the Gambia to benefit because what the EU does for the Gambia is unquantifiable, she opined.

Mr. Tapha Bojang, a 48-year-old man and a resident of Churchill's Town also expressed opinion by asserting that the EU just wants these 17 recommendations implemented because it's for the development of the Gambia and its people. Mr. Bojang further posited that the reason why the EU has stipulated these points for discussion with the government of the Gambia is simply because it has signed an agreement to respect human rights and rule of law. Therefore, he said, the EU is reminding the Gambia Government to implement good and democratic laws and policies and it is only good and democratic laws that brings development, peace and stability to a country.

EDITOR'S NOTE

We would like all Gambians and concerned persons to review the 17 points and form an opinion on each of them to determine whether Gambians have been making such suggestions before the EU came up with them or not. People should know the points at issue before forming an opinion.

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