Freedom Newspaper; Thanks Mike for extending another helping hand
to The Freedom Newspaper.What Makes you so connected to The Freedom Newspaper and why should people support the paper?
 
Michael;  I have been franciseing with Gambians for a long time now.
When I first went to Gambia,I suppose I could have followed the crowd and sat by the swimming pool and done nothing except feed my own vanity.The fact remains that I returned 19 times and spent a small fortune offering help.Their was never any organisation or benefactor standing behind me.I stood alone.With Samba Faal, guideing me, we achieved a great deal.We made a difference.I am still trying to make a difference.You and I Pa have two separate relationships.The business end and the friendship end.I have come to know you very well.You have proved that my faith in Gambians was not missplaced.I trust you implicitly.I do not agree with all you say.Neither do you agree with all that I say.I know you have taken a lot of flack from Gambians who are not pleased that I have stood by The Gambian Government and President Jammeh or many individuals who are associated with your Government.If I am nothing else…I am loyal.I have no doubt in my mind that you are as concerned about The Gambia and your compatriots as any other well balanced and concerned citizen.You have no hidden agenda.If I thought for one moment you were an opportunist or subversive…..I would have distanced myself from you and The Freedom Newspaper. I consider myself as totally honest and trustworthy.I would have no hesitation in recomending you and The Freedom Newspaper as an honerable and trustworthy news medium.
If I become a victim of crossfire between both sides of the argument,then so be it…let me fall on principal and not bullshit.
 
Whats your overall assessment of Freedom Newspaper?
 
Michael; At times you are in danger of being accused of what you are trying to defend.I have publicly stated that I do not condone personal attacks against those who cannot come to defend themselves because of circumstance.But then I am not Gambian..so who am I to talk?I do believe that you are a force of opinion that has to be reckoned with.Your fan base and lobby remains very loyal.President Jammeh should realise that he can not hand pick his followers or the electorate.The wise would open dialogue and investigate the grievances and offer either moderation or mediation.Myself I believe that the gulf that exists between you is not irreconcileable.I would be happy to speak to both sides and offer mediation.
 
Freedom Newspaper;  You have on numerous occaisions called on President Jammeh to reconcile with the private press-most importantly The Freedom Newspaper.Why the need for such reconciliation?
 
Michael; We all have a choice…..do we want conflict or peace?Those who prefer conflict are quite mad.Blessed are the peacemakers.
 
Freedom Newspaper;  You recently called on The British High Commissioner to consider imposing a temporary travel ban to The Gambia.Will the travel ban remedy the Gay controversy?
 
Michael; To write to Our High Commissioner is my democratic right as a citizen and tax payer of The United Kingdom.I would never as a rule publish any such communication.But it was an open letter.So i believe I was within my rights.I have already, on the pages of “Freedom” clarified my position when writing here.I do not speak for the British Government.I do not have any other relationship with them only as that of a concerned British citizen.I have had dialogue with several previous British High Commissioners of The Gambia.I must say that His Excellency Phil Sinkinson O.B.E. gives me much more confidence that others who have gone before.May I also say I find his Deputy Graham Birse….quite courageous and refreshingly tolerent to my rare communications.I know President Jammeh is aware of my personal sacrifice in his defence when My friend Bharat Joshi was expelled.
I certainly would not wish to damage the economic viability of The Gambia in any way shape or form.That would make all my work done and money spent as hypocritical.The questions to the H.C. are purely as an advice towards caution until the Gambian Governments position on the welcome of Gays to The Gambia is more assured and confident.
No more….no less.
 
Freedom Newspaper; Considering Gambia’s fragile economy, dont you think such a call would cause more hardship for the impoverished population who relied on tourism as a source of living.?
 
Michael; That is a good question.My previous answer should be good enough…..But my concern is for the safety of all visitors.The Gambian Government should refer to the statements published in the Banjul Daily Observer.If their is not an issue..let them clearly state this.If their is let them advise what there requirements are.I remain respectful to the wishes of President Jammeh and his Government.
 
Freedom Newspaper; President Jammeh was on record for having threatened to cut off heads of Gay and Lesbians in The Gambia.He also gave them 24 hours ultimatumto leave the country.The same Yahya Jammeh gave directive to his Foreign Minister to issue a press release denying his statement.What do you make out of this?

 
Michael; I was pleased that the Ministry of Foriegn Affairs…faxed your office.This was brave and a step in the right direction.If you faxed the Daily Observer..I doubt they would have published your letter?
 
I was unaware of their reference to some media in the Netherlands who they consider as enemies of The President.My own concerns were guided by the Gay Rights article that you and others published and the editorials in the Daily Observer.I have referred to the media coverage.I have not heard The President state these things myself.
In your question you say that The President is on record as making these statements?You should back this up with evidence.Certainly the Daily Observer confirms that The President does not want Gays in The Gambia.It becomes apparent to me that some clear and unequivical statement is required from The President and his Government.If this is a missunderstanding……let them go on record and clear the air.Once this is done, then all will be reassured or not depending on what is said and recorded.
 
Freedom Newspaper;  Will the said press release change the perception of the West about Jammeh’s threats against Gays?
 
Michael; I remain uncertain.It is reassuring that the Foriegn Minister has distanced the President from any threat to behead gays.My own opinion is that their needs to be a clear statement concerning wether gays are welcome in The Gambia.
You know we British have had endured video links from terrorists beheading our defencless citizens, for no other crime than being in the wrong place at the wrong time.It is beyond my words to describe how the British feel about such incredible inhumanity.
 
Freedom Newspaper;  What is the situation of Gay’s in England.Is it a crime to become a Gay in England.?
 
Michael;  I was interested in your editorial which said Gays are born at around pubity.{laugh} It is front page news here at the moment…that some official in Ireland said Gays can be counselled away from homosexuality….The Gay rights movement here is going crazy over this.I do not understand Gays….except it appears a natural phenonomum that some have it their jeans{pardon my phraseiology}
and others do not.I have always though that sex was over rated anyway…all that pushing and shoving.But then i suppose we wouldn’t be here without it?I’m more interested in the tears of hungry children.Sorry if i’m strange that way?Live and let live…is that unreasonable?No it is not a crime..
 
Freedom Newspaper;  Are you pro or anti gay?
 
Michael;
 If that refers to my sexual preference……I am game for any form of pleasure with my wife that is my duty and her right and is legal.I think I have 5  children that I am aware of….I’m 58 and still trying hard to make  a few more.
I myself am a child of the 60’s working class sexual and music revolution.I still have a pair of flowered jeans and a kaftan…with the slogan…make LOve not War.I havn’t changed one bit.I wear the badge of a hippy with pride.      Peace brother !!!
 
Freedom Newspaper;  Thanks our good friend….for the interview.
Regards to Princess and the family.
 
Michael;   My pleasure and our love to the family and your readers.
 
Be Sociable, Share!