Governor of the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL), Dr. Joseph Mills Jones, has said that Liberia will forever remain grateful to Mr. John G. Bestman, former member of the CBL Board of Governors for the sacrifices he offered to the country and the banking sector at large.
Dr. Jones made the statement at the farewell dinner in honor of the outgoing member of the CBL Board of Governors, held at the Monrovia City Hall last Friday.
“John Bestman, when the new economic history is written, your name will be among those who dared to challenged the status quo, among those who dared to dissent, not for the sake of dissenting, but because it was the right thing to do,” the CBL Executive Governor declared.
He continued, “You spoke softly, but carried the big stick. The stick that you carried, John, was the message that fighting poverty in Liberia required financial empowerment of Liberians,” says Dr. Jones.
According to him, “the work the former Member of the CBL Board of Governors did was not about himself, but the people he served–the Liberian people, especially the voiceless, the poor and those in rural and underserved areas of the country.
“This is a dinner in honor of a man who deserves not just this mark of respect, but the approbation of the nation. Indeed, he has served well in many areas of major responsibility: as Minister of Finance, Governor of the National Bank of Liberia, and as member of the Board of
Governors of the Central Bank of Liberia,” CBL Governor told the gathering as he shower praises on Mr. Bestman.
Governor Jones described him “as humble man with much to be proud about; he is a man of solid education, experience as well as accomplishments.
“John is an example of a role model we can assuredly recommend to the younger generation to follow,” Jones averred.
The CBL boss noted that the former Board Governors did not rise to prominence on the wings of sycophancy; therefore, Mr. Bestman’s prominence stood the test of time because it was earned. It was [with] his performance that Mr. Bestman [proved] that public service was about the bigger picture—our country Liberia. “I would dare say that we need more men and women like John Bestman.”
“More besides,” the Governor continued, “if Liberia is to live up to its promise, these are the people whose lives must be touched; and if we are to make Liberia a big tent for all, these are the people whose lives must be touched. I remain committed to this approach to public service,” Dr. Jones declared.
In response, the outgoing member of the CBL Board of Governors, John G. Bestman, thanked President Ellen John Sirleaf for the opportunity given him over the nine years to serve his people as member of the CBL Board of Governors.
“My experience over these years has been hugely blessed and richly rewarding. I commend her (President Sirleaf) for the quality of professional men and women she continues to appoint to the Board of Governors,” said Mr. Bestman.
At the same, the former member of CBL Board of Governors expressed gratitude to Governor Jones and members of the Board for the high level of professionalism demonstrated during his tenure in advancing the interest of the Liberian people.
Mr. Bestman reminded the gathering that the role of the Central Bank is to manage the monetary sector of the economy, regulating the banking system and putting in place measures to optimize the level of the money supply.
According to Mr. Bestman, the CBL Board of Governors also advances policies by using tools to reduce inflation and to ensure adequate foreign exchange reserves are maintained to protect the national currency as a store of value.
“I must say that all evidence exists that indeed the nation’s banking sector is on a sound footing as I retire today. We have managed to keep inflation in single digits, while in many countries in the region, inflation due to currency depreciation is in double digits,” Mr. Bestman said.
He added that the value of the Liberian dollar, despite limited export capacity and low productivity, is still relatively stable vis-a-vis the value of international currencies.
He indicated that during his tenure at the Bank “they have managed to keep the Liberian dollar at a reasonable rate by active interventions in the market place.”
At the same time, the outgoing CBL Board of Governors said that the CBL is the clearing house for all financial transactions in the banking system.
“Let them be aware that as former members of the Board of Governors of the CBL, we took a fidelity oath never to disclose anything in line with our duties even long after we have the left the Board,” he declared.
The program was attended by Bomi Senator Morris Saytoma, former CBL Board Member David Vinton, who also once served as Governor of the National Bank of Liberia, members of the CBL Board of Governors, CBL staff, officials and members of the banking sector, government officials, former Liberian Ambassador to Washington, D.C. and Mrs. Charles A. Minor, the Managing Director of the National Port Authority, Dr. Togba-Nah Tipoteh, former Lands, Mines and Energy Minister and Mrs. Ophelia Hoff Saytoma, former Mayor of the City of Monrovia and former vice president of the National Oil Company of Liberia and Observer publisher Kenneth Y. Best.