Statement by the Prime Minister to the administrators of the Ministry of Transport –

Mr. Inspector General of Services, Ladies and Gentlemen Directors General, Ladies and Gentlemen Directors, Ladies and Gentlemen Heads of Department,

Our country Gabon has been going through an unprecedented tragedy for a week which has cost the lives of many compatriots.

Indeed, on March 09, 2023, the ship ESTHER MIRACLE belonging to the company ROYAL COAST MARINE, having on board more than a hundred passengers, was shipwrecked.

This tragedy affects us all! Each of us mourns the loss of a father, a mother, a sister, a son, a friend. United by blood for some, by heart for others but for all, united by belonging to the same country, the Gabonese Nation.

The motherland mourns its children and by duty of memory and in respect to their premature departure, we have the obligation to honor them and pay them a deserved tribute.

In the name of the President of the Republic, Head of State, I am announcing to you today that a stele will be erected in the heart of Baie des Rois, in memory of our deceased.

This symbolic monument will be there every day, so that we do not forget them and to remind us that we NEVER want THAT AGAIN!

The preliminary results of the investigation still in progress, on the circumstances of this tragedy, challenge us and show us in many respects the flaws in the administrative management of the Ministry of Transport, at all levels, both land, air and sea. .

The investigation, which will be conducted in complete transparency and without any censorship, will reveal the responsibilities of each party in the malfunctions that led to this tragic accident.

During my address to the High Administration on February 10, 2023, I recalled, without knowing that a few weeks later these words would take on their full meaning, that we must assume the weight of our respective responsibilities with abnegation, dedication and professionalism.

and respect the fundamental principles contained in the Code of Ethics for the Public Service.

Indeed, the current drama that we are experiencing, with consequences on human lives, illustrates in itself the importance of respecting these fundamental principles.

These include the principle of legality which requires us to scrupulously respect the texts in force and the resulting procedures.

To this principle of legality is added the principle of equality which imposes on the Administration and therefore on the Ministry of Transport, the obligation to deal fairly with all situations falling within its area of ​​competence.

These fundamental principles oblige you to deal with all administrative acts rigorously and without any complacency.

Unfortunately, it is clear that complacency, laxity, conflicts of interest and personal interest are evils that weaken our public service mission.

Too often and to deplore it, administrative acts and other approvals or authorizations are issued without rigorous examination or control of the documents provided in the file in defiance of the general interest.

This unfortunate event should serve all managers of public affairs. There is too much negligence, too many compromises, privileges and small arrangements. The transport sector is particularly concerned, whether land, sea or rail.

I also note with regret that the phenomenon of corruption in our administration is becoming worrying.

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Together we must and we will fight against this scourge!

It is our responsibility!

Thus, while appealing to your sense of duty and in accordance with the principle of responsibility recalled in the Code of Ethics, all public officials will now more than ever answer for their actions before the competent courts.

That is why, if flaws are revealed by the results of the investigation within the Transport Administration in the context of this sinking, administrative sanctions will be taken without prejudice to criminal sanctions.

No one will be spared at all levels. Person. Everyone will assume their responsibilities.

It is therefore essential, in the accomplishment of your missions, to always be very attentive to the impact of your actions on the well-being of populations, in accordance with the vision of the President of the Republic, Head of State.

By taking office, you have subscribed to the priesthood of serving

the state. To serve only the state.

I therefore enjoin you to respect the rules of professional conduct and ethics which must characterize each of your decisions and to which you must be resolutely attached in

the daily performance of your duties so that such a situation never happens again in our country and particularly in your sector of activity.

We are in times of mourning and contemplation. We must continue to support families and survivors.

The time will come for answers to the questions we ask ourselves.

The moment will also come for the Nation to express its gratitude to those who have made it possible to avoid an even heavier toll.

May all these people, natural or legal, known or anonymous, find here the expression of the gratitude of the President of the Republic, the Government and the Gabonese People.

Be aware that the innocuous acts that you take can make fun of the lives of our compatriots. Be well aware of this.

May this tragic accident, like those having bereaved Gabonese families at sea, in the air or on our roads, lead you to a greater professional conscience.

My intention is not to convict you, far from it. I call for more responsibility and rigor in the management of public affairs.

The time for decisions will come. They will be difficult for some

of them, but we will take responsibility for them.

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