Scales speaks  Taal exposed      Taal was your adviser
for real Jilanka???By Michael Scales, UK

I am again brought to your door to address three issues. With no significance meant by the order in which they are considered.   The First,  Your article mentioning Nigeria, including ,Mr. Victor Attah, The Governor of Akwa Ibom, Uyo State.   Governor Attah,Is a highly respected and principled politician whose credentials as a prospective President of Nigeria are unreproachable.In the Le Meridian Hotel project, along with a state of the art Airport, he has harnessed finance and employment, to deliver much needed foreign income through increased Tourism. His further lobbying of Washington to engage pollution issues surrounding the extraction of oil from The Niger-Delta is cause worthy of this gentleman.

Many hereditary Lands in the Region have had there water supplies polluted by this necessary commercial enterprise. Redress and compensation to those affected have so far met with little progress. It is true to mention the criminal term 419ers given to those from opportunistic origins who have sought to enter Nigeria to exploit there, ill thought out intentions, to supply worthless drugs and fraud only to be chased from the country.

Though Nigeria acknowledges it poverty…it nevertheless holds it head high with World Class Educational facilities including  integral Universities with Prime standards of excellence.The shock of seeing the ultra modern City of  Abuja with my own eyes was only tempered by delight and admiration to be received with some respect if not a little curiosity. I enjoyed my stay immensly.My departure from The Dennis Hotel…spoke volumes for the integrity of a much maligned people who chased me to the door to inform me that in fact I’d over paid my hotel bill and rewarded my patronage with a rebate of N25, 500.Quite remarkable !  To berate all American business people for there interest in seeking worthwhile and lawful financial liaisons with Africans. Does little to reward those who forgo there expensive shoes for hiking boots, I would ask that they continue to engage there lawful commercial interests for the benefit of all.

In respect of The Gambia and such commercial enquiries….I would suggest the Gambian business people that I have met…and I’ve met some of very best….are quite capable of holding there own with any prospective business investor from whatever nation.

The Second.  The Banjul Observer.

I have taken legal advice…not on the comments made by there staff. But on a legally binding oath of confidentiality that I freely signed. I believe I have a restricted right to reply of which I will do, to try to clear the air. My passage into The Gambia was forever plagued with death threats. Some would come through the post in the form of pornography. Accompanied by direct threats to my life. The most common was the telephone.

Usually the night before I would travel…..they said simply that I would not leave Banjul Airport alive. These were given to our local police who referred them to the Special Branch of Scotland Yard. I also informed our Embassy in Banjul, who one one occasion turned out in force to greet me at the Airport. These were also given to the Gambian Government who in later years arranged for me to be transported safely to and from the Airport. And arranged heightened security for me at The Atlantic Hotel. I can honestly say that I have never worried too much about these unfortunate threats. I came and went to The Gambia 19 times.

On one such visit I was accompanied by a very special British Businessman of impeccable reference and capability. His interest would have revolutionized the Gambians farming capability. The total project was in the region of $32 million dollars. I had arranged to be met at the Airport by my security guard. At the Airport we were met by himself and a gentleman he introduced me to as his father. He drove a rather old sand colored 4×4. During the drive to the Hotel, it became apparent that his interest was not towards courtesy ,but more to do with my British Companion. During the next few days. This gentleman who claimed to be Dr Taal…showed me and my companion around various establishments connected to Agriculture. He got on very well with my companion. During the following week I received a call from my Gambian sponsor…a highly respected Gambian Government official. He verbally attacked me for my association with Dr, Taal.so much so that in fact he never spoke to me again for over 12 months. I later checked with another official who laughed loudly at the suggestion that Dr.Taal could further the respective trade initiative’s was left confused and disillusioned. I decided to turn to my security guard…and called him to my room. I asked him point blank. Is Dr.Taal your father…..he replied NO!…..I said I had entrusted my safety and the safety of my companion to his care..and in fact his actions had caused me great concern. He replied…but Dr.Taal.is the Father of our people.

By this time my security guard was shaking visibly and very unhappy. I decided to lift the pressure from him and thanked him for his honesty. We remain good friends to this day. In fact, his true father was interned into hospital last year to which I paid his hospital fees towards his recovery.Im sad to report he died a few weeks ago……I reported my findings to my British companion…who accepted the errors but insisted that he pursue his work with Dr Taal.This continued for several years. But this is where I need to respect the oath of confidentiality. During our time together Dr Taal,confirmed that he had worked in several high positions {itinerant}That the trade initiative could enforce his intended comeback{comeback kid} He said he had several lives in Education, Government, advisor to the President and several schemes including local government {more lives than a Cheshire cat}. The method of his introduction to me was somewhat opportunistic if not inspirational. Credibility and truth are the spearhead of transparency} However my comment on a change of leadership was in hindsight ..most unfortunate. The word leadership and direction have a common empathy. Perhaps I would have been better placed to use the word Direction.????

In 2002 I was asked to make an assessment of the print room of The Banjul Observer. My chosen profession is as a Reprographics Consultant. My company was called Mike Scales Reprographics Ltd.This is a confidential report but it made recommendations for a change of Direction from offset litho ,into Laser Digital Technology and gave cost effective solutions. They were considered but not taken up. Purely on the expense. I have had the honour to be published in the Banjul Observer on several occaisions.For this I this I give grateful thanks to The Editor .The Dr.Taal that I knew was highly intelligent and articulate. There was nothing that he said or did to me that was controversial…..except perhaps his manner of  introduction. I am a man who cherishes the truth. I trust this goes someway to clear a very unfortunate misunderstanding on both our parts. If indeed this is the same Dr.Taal.

The Third..  Concerning Ms.Fatou Jaw Manneh.

The World is becoming a very small place with the advent of air travel and of course the internet. I now speak to citizens all over the world, including Africa,Iran,The United States,India,China,Bolivia,The Philippines , etc.etc.etc.We exchange views and inspect each others culture and beliefs.

Of course, like any other medium it carries some responsibility and civility and respect. There are always those who will set out to exploit any situation. The right to freedom of speech and expression is fundamental to Human Rights. My support to The President of The Gambia has been critised..by some very forcefully. I respect this………However my interest is is not circumspect. Some time back I was confronted with a decision which circumstances forced upon me. At the expulsion of our Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Bharat Joshi…I was advised by my contact at Trade Partners U.K. that the British Government was considering restricting Trade and Tourism to The Gambia in  retaliation of Mr. Joshi.s Treatment. This coming only a few weeks before The President had taken the decision to advance The Gambia into Democracy through a General Election. We feared the possibility of civil war and violent unrest and the outside possibility of British troops being called upon to restore the peace as they had done in Sierra Leone. I was asked by a close advisor to The President to do all I could to block this.

Along with my contact at Trade partners …we worked hard to lobby The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. Letters were wrote and the arguments tendered for consideration. The situation stabilized and common sense prevailed. To which I unequivocally praise the British Government. I came to know Bharat Joshi quite well….He was an energetic diplomat and extremely enthusiastic about The Gambia. My opinion of him would be that he would have taken his expulsion without remorse provided the Gambians progress into Democracy was real and embraced Human Rights and the freedoms it releases.

For me …the trial of Mrs. Fatou Jaw Manneh and its outcome will determine whether the trust that I and others have placed with The Gambia and its Government. Were well placed or merely pipe dreams…..At this eleventh hour I still believe in The Gambia. May I pay my respects to The American Ambassador in The Gambia for his and his staff s work to ensure a fair and just outcome, for Ms.Manneh.May I also give my admiration to Mrs.Manneh and her Gallant Lawyer Jobarteh towards there comfort at this hour. Could I also thank the journalists at Freedom Newspaper for there tireless efforts to inform and debate the issues raised. As my Gambian friends often advise me…it is only God that can judge all people….May God give all involved a just reward……..Michael.

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Posted on Sunday, April 29, 2007 (Archive on Tuesday, May 29, 2007)
Posted by PNMBAI  Contributed by PNMBAI
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