In an exclusive interview with The Standard, Salifu Puye rebutted the claims of opposition UDP leader, Ousainou Darboe: “It will not be disastrous because we are a believing nation with integrity and bargaining power. As far as we are concerned, things that are not within the purview of our beliefs will be rejected. We can only negotiate with people based on mutual trust and understanding which is very important. Imposing things on people throughout the world can never work. We were colonised by the Western people and it will be fair if they are now helping us and giving back all that they have taken away from us. This will make our partnership befitting and fruitful. The relationship has to be reciprocal and they should respect our views and stance and then wherever it becomes difficult, we can negotiate.
“The recent protest against homosexuality in the country is very befitting because as far as our cultural heritage is concerned, homosexuality can never be condoned in our society. As far as our religion is concerned, as far as our culture is concerned, it falls outside of the domain of our beliefs. Therefore, the demonstration has shown exactly what is in the hearts of the Gambian people as far as culture and tradition are concerned. What these people have done is exactly what they should do because nothing can be imposed on people. Our norms and values must be maintained despite the fact that we all live together in this world and share things together. Our cultural beliefs and norms must be respected and maintained.
“But imposing things on us just because of our poverty does not stand. It is better to die in poverty, struggle to live than to live under imperialism or slavery. Slavery will not be tolerated again because we have seen what has happened in the past. We are not an island and we are part and parcel of the wider globe and therefore, we will negotiate and partner with people based on mutual trust and understanding. It is only through this that the relationship can last. And for the opposition, they must know that The Gambia belongs to all of us and that the people that are rallying behind the government are the majority of the people. Therefore, sometimes it is better to say things that will do good than to say things that will do bad… There are giant steps including Vision 2016 that show that we are striving hard as a nation. The West needs our support as we need their support.”]]>