Marshall City, Margibi County - The Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI) in Marshall City, Lower Margibi County, has been officially opened and renamed in honor of Mr. John G. Bestman, a former Finance Minister.
It will now be officially known as the John G. Bestman Maritime Training Institute (JGBMTI).
Besides Mr. Bestman’s services rendered to country, he played a major role in acquiring the property in Marshall, which now hosts the Institute.
The property is a 17.3-acre campus overlooking the Junk, Farmington and Du Rivers, all of which empty in the Atlantic Ocean in the same Marshall.
Making remarks at the dedication ceremony, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf expressed her gratitude for the project stating that it had being a long awaited day.
“This day we have been waiting for a long time ago. This institute was made possible because of the agreement reached with LISCR in 2015.
It is because Liberia has already established efficiency in the establishment of the maritime program that many of the ships have themselves encouraged the establishment of the institute to meet their commitment to us.
“This for us is a major goal and major establishment,” the President stated.
Speaking earlier, the elated John G. Bestman thanked the LMA for renaming the institute in his name. He jokingly told everyone that the honor actually belongs to his children as he now has a foot on the other side. He
Mr. Bestman shared the award with many others, who worked with him at that to acquire the property from the people of Marshall.
Dr. James Kollie, Commissioner of the Liberia Maritime Authority (LMA), said the institute is well-positioned to provide short term training and refresher courses to professionals in the maritime sector to ensure that productivity is enhanced in the sector as well as reducing the training cost of partners in the sector.
“We will no longer send people to Ghana and other countries for advance training,” Dr. Kollie indicated.
JGBMTI is the offspring of the Mano River Union Training Institute (MRUTI), which was established in 1973 as part of the Mano River Declaration.
The training institute will shortly begin to offer Associate degrees in Marine and Electrical/Electronics, Engineering Diploma Courses, IMO STCW short courses and other maritime/fisheries courses.
Located in Marshall City, Margibi County, JGBMTI was initially established in 1979 bearing the name Mano River Union Marine Training Institute (MRUMTI).
It is expected that JGBMTI will provide the one of the best qualities of marine-focused education and vocational skills to qualified Liberians for domestic and International workforce capacity building.
With Liberia being the second largest ship registry in the world, the opening of the institute puts it in a position to respond to the needs of its customers and the international market place by opening the institute, to facilitate quality training and to produce well-trained, fully qualified and certified seafarers in accordance with the standards of training.
The JGBMTI was originally operated under the auspices of the Mano River Union Compromising Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea until 1988 when the Liberian Government acquired full ownership.
As with most national institutions, the training institute faced repeated closures at different periods due to the civil war, Ebola crisis, funds crunch, etc.
In 2016, the Liberia International Ship and Corporate Registry (LISCR) based in Virginia, USA decided to take up management of the institute.
Currently, the first pilot batches of 24 engineering cadets have commenced their training.