President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has officially performed the dedicatory ceremony of a modern State of the art John G. Bestman Maritime Training Institute (LMTI) in Marshall City Lower Margibi.
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader described the moment as the day we have all been waiting for. She thanked members of the 53rdNational Legislature for passing the amendment to the Agency Agreement between the Government of the Republic of Liberia and the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) in 2015.
She paid tribute to the partnership with LISCR, which according to her has translated into the transformation of a modern Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI). President Sirleaf also recognized the significant contributions of former Commissioners Mr. Gerald Cooper, Joe Keller and Binyah Kesselly. The President also made special recognition of Mrs. Leona Dennis – who particularly served the Maritime dutifully for 43 years. She acknowledged that Mrs. Leona 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 gave way to the meticulous recruitment of 20 males and 4 females. She expressed delight in light of the professional content that would characterize the recruits upon their two-year training process. She pointed out that the inclusive selection from Liberia’s 15 counties is a demonstration of national participation.
Following the ribbon-cutting ceremony by the Liberian leader, she then performed the unveiling of the plaque in honor of former Finance Minister and Governor of what was formerly the National Bank of Liberia, named and styled the John G. Bestman Maritime Training Institute. In brief reference to Hon. John G. Bestman, President Sirleaf said: “John we owe you; It is honorable to give honor to whom it is due.”
President Sirleaf was later taken on a guided tour of the modernized facility at the John G. Bestman Maritime Training Institute.
Earlier, Mr. Abraham Avi Zaidenberg, Managing Director of the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) in Monrovia AND Chairman of the Board of the Liberia Maritime Training Institute welcomed all and sundry to the epoch-making ceremony and noted the individual and collective role of all stakeholders. He recalled LISCR’s partnership with the with the Government of Liberia which began more than 18 years ago and informed the gathering that under President Sirleaf’s leadership, the Liberian Shipping Registry has increased the size of its fleet three times. Avi, as he is commonly called, also mentioned that today, 30% of oil cargo shipped to the United States are carried by Liberian flagged vessels.
In separate remarks, Commissioner James F. Kollie; Board Chair, Cllr. Juah Lawson; and Senate Committee, Chairperson, Dallas Gueh of Rivercess lauded President Sirleaf for her hindsight in ensuring the project came to fruition. They acknowledged the significant interventions of the various actors who worked so diligently towards such realization.
It can be recalled that as part of the 2015 amendments to the agency agreement between the Government of Liberia and the Liberia International Ship & Corporate Registry (LISCR) based in Virginia, USA, the Government decided to turn over the management of the Liberia Management Training Institute to LISCR. The agreement calls for Government to provide the funding but also provided that LISCR will use its experience in maritime training to upgrade and manage the facility so that it is internationally recognized and accredited. The first batch of 24 cadets commenced training on August 1, 2017. The LMTI can look ahead to becoming a truly world-class center of excellence for maritime training.