President Sirleaf describes moment as the day Liberians were waiting for
A modern maritime training facility has berthed in Liberia with a promise to address capital flight associated with overseas training of the manpower needs of the maritime industry.
The sate-of-the art training facility is situated in Marshall, lower Margibi County and boasts of modern training equipment that meets the requisite needs of maritime practitioners in line with the requirements of the global maritime watchdog, the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
Named the John G. Bestman Maritime Training Institute, the facility is situated on 17.3 acres of land and overlooks the Farmington and Du Rivers as well as the Atlantic Ocean.
Performing the dedicatory ceremony of the institute, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf described the occasion as the day “we have all been waiting for.”
She thanked members of the 53rd National Legislature for renegotiating the Concession Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) in 2015.
The partnership with LISCR, according to her, has led to the transformation of a modern Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI). President Sirleaf also recognized the significant contributions of Gerald Cooper, Beyan Cooper and Mrs. Leonard Dennis – who served the Maritime dutifully for 43 years.
She acknowledged that Mrs. Dennis remained committed and devoted in spite of some of the most difficult moments the Bureau of Maritime faced. President Sirleaf thanked stakeholders of the Liberia Maritime Authority and Liberia Maritime Training Institute for putting in place a rigorous recruiting process, which led to the meticulous recruitment of 20 males and 4 females.
She expressed satisfaction with the professionalism that the recruits would be imbued with upon completion of their two-year training process. She pointed out that the selection of trainees from Liberia’s 15 counties was a demonstration of the inclusiveness of the recruitment process.
Following the ribbon-cutting President Sirleaf unveiled the plaque naming the facility in honor of former Finance Minister and Governor of the then National Bank of Liberia (now Central Bank of Liberia), John G. Bestman saying briefly, “John, we owe you; it is honorable to give honor to whom it is due.”
Earlier, Abraham Abi Zaidenberg, Managing Director of LISCR, recalled its involvement in the shipping sector with Liberia about 18 years ago and informed the gathering that there has been a 30% improvement in cargo shipment to the United States.
In separate remarks, Commissioner James Kollie, Board Chair, Cllr. Juah Lawson, and Senate Committee Chairperson Dallas Gueh of Rivercess lauded President Sirleaf for her foresight in ensuring the project came to fruition. They acknowledged the significant interventions of the various actors who worked diligently towards the realization of the institute.
It can be recalled that in 2016, LISCR – based in Virginia, U.S.A., assumed management of the Liberia Management Training Institute. With the first batch of 24 engineering cadets having commenced training on August 1, 2017, he said the LMTI can look ahead to becoming a truly world-class institution of excellence.