We announced in our Wednesday edition (November 18, Editor’s note) that the President of the Departmental Council had written to Annick Girardin Minister of the Sea, to ask him to make Longoni a Grand Port Maritime (GPM). We mentioned the difficulties in ensuring this possible transformation, because going from a DSP to a large seaport is not done with a snap of the finger and even less with a letter addressed to the wrong person, Annick Girardin having no competence in the matter. This letter should at the very least have been addressed to the Minister of Industry, the Minister of Transport and at least the Minister of Overseas. So why go to Annick Girardin? So that she forward this letter to her colleagues directly concerned?

It is not clear why we need this transmission belt… In short, ultimately it does not matter to whom this mail is addressed, it is a bit of a mess at a time when big interests are at stake to make money. Longoni, the rear base for industrialists who will exploit Mozambique’s gas field. The latter may have the eyes of Chimene for Mayotte, they remain high-level economic professionals and do not have to worry about kindergarten sandbox quarrels. They want something concrete, solid, reactive and fast. For them, whether the port is a large seaport or a small port of Longoni, they make up their eyes with the brush of indifference

While everyone agrees to try to bring these people to Mayotte, because they will bring a new and significant economic breath, the only concern of the executive is to make Mayotte a MOC. We think we are dreaming! Since 1992 the management of the port of Longoni has been entrusted by the State to the Territorial Collectivity. In June 2004 with the entry into force of decentralization, this management came under the supervision of the General Council and since 2011 to the Department. It is therefore common ground that the local executive has control over the port. Whether its management has been entrusted to the CCI or, since 2013, to a delegatee, it is the Departmental Council which is in charge. Now, what is happening? The current no longer passes with Mayotte Channel Gateway (MCG) delegate to the port, the management methods of President Ida Nel, being contested from all sides. Only here, in 2013, the businesswoman had smelled the Mozambican gas and had anticipated at the level of her investments, because she already knew the potential which could be released from the port of Longoni with this gas field located a few hours from sea of our coasts. Of course, Ida Nel’s methods are more rangers and boxer shorts, than stiletto heels and a cocktail dress… Having as much diplomacy as a bulldozer, she did not hesitate to face the more or less twisted blows that punctuated her assumption of office as delegatee. Even if she made mistakes, we must not lose sight of the fact that if Longoni is retained as a back base to the detriment of Kenya, it will be partly thanks to that, because she will have anticipated it must be admitted, while the anticipation is a quality that is sorely lacking in our elected officials. Asking today to make Longoni a MOC is rather awkward. For this it would already be necessary that the CD deliberates to withdraw the DSP to MCG, because let us not forget that within the framework of the free administration of the communities, the State cannot interfere in the current management of the port to transform it into GPM .

To admit that the CD is withdrawing, it would then be up to the State to study the possibility of transforming Longoni into GPM. The case would be rather embarrassing and this in more than one way, since by firing Ida, it would be necessary to compensate MCG up to several million euros, which for the finances of the CD would not be profitable. Then, given the size of the current site and its traffic, it is hard to see this transformation happening. With 6 small hectares, making Longoni a MOC would be ridiculous. But the biggest problem would be that of the credibility given to future gas investors who have other things to do than to find themselves in the middle of a local political and economic bechamel with two balls. It is not serious. Let us remember what Mr. Hattet * said : “We will not come to invest, but as clients”. Future “customers” would therefore be delighted to arrive in the midst of a war to change the status of the port of Longoni. Let’s be serious, this is not the time for division if it is a question of attracting very wealthy customers willing to spend a lot of money to enjoy the facilities of the port of Longoni. The CD would be more inspired to work hand in hand with the port manager, rather than trying to satisfy some misplaced egos or resentments …


* Denis Hattet, representative of Technip FMC, a company specializing in industrial projects related to oil and gas. was on visit from Mayotte on October 25th.