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Friday, June 14, 2024

ADDRESS DELIVERED BY PRES. JOSEPH NYUMA BOAKAI AT THE 3RD GRADUATION CEREMONY OF THE LIBERIA MARITIME TRAINING INSTITUTE

Date:

Thursday, May 16, 2024

Members of the Cabinets;

Members of the Legislature;

Members of the Judiciary;

Mr. Commissioner and Deputy Commissioners of the Liberia Maritime Authority;

Members of the Diplomatic Corps;

Parents and Guardians;

Graduating Class;

Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen:

Good morning and Congratulations!

Today marks a significant occasion not only for you, as you register yet another valuable milestone in your life. Today’s events also stand as a testament to our resolve to instill professionalism and decency in our governance system.

We have gathered here today not only to witness the 3rd   graduation ceremonies of the Liberia Maritime Training Institute; our gathering here also passes as a demonstration of our unwavering commitment to the empowerment and development of the young people of our country.

It is a commitment that I hold dear to my heart and is central to my Administration’s approach because, I hold that providing career opportunities for young people does not only empower them, it guarantees the continued existence and progress of our country.

The Liberia Maritime Training Institute project, which engenders this graduation ceremony today, is one of the keys to the education pillar of our ARREST Agenda. As we strive to educate and empower the youth of our country, we must pay special attention to specialized and technical education. This type of training equips them with marketable skills and expertise that are valuable for the Liberian economy and the global job market.

Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

In recent times, Liberia has made several notable strides in the global maritime space. The election of Liberia as a Category A Member of the Council of the International Maritime Organization and the consistently excellent performance of the Liberian Ship Registry are worth noting in this regard.

On the domestic front, Liberia has four seaports, a 580 km coastline, a rich and expanding fisheries sector, a healthy marine ecosystem and marine resources and a huge dependence on seaborne transport are all realities. These examples highlight the importance of the maritime sector in our country’s development and Liberia’s comparative advantage in this field.

We need to take more concrete steps to maximize the potential of the maritime sector in our country. This institute is a crucial tool in our efforts to tap into these opportunities. The institute must continue to lead the way in preparing the next generation of Liberian seafarers and other maritime professionals. There is a growing need for the Liberia Maritime Institute to expand its facilities in the upcoming years. This expansion is necessary to accommodate more students and offer a wider range of courses.

The Maritime Institute must begin to offer certificates of competence and other officer courses for our cadets who are currently onboard vessels and those to be joining soon. But to be able to accomplish that, Neto has told me that there is an urgent need to build additional dormitory facilities, an auditorium, and lecture halls as well as to increase the specialized training facilities.  We need to approach this with strategic efficiency.

In the next decades, we must have Liberian captains and chief engineers, something befitting of our status as a leader in the global maritime space.

I ask the Board to review the expansion and growth plan, take due notice, and act accordingly.

It is very pleasing to note that since its reorganization and change in Management, all of the previous graduates of this School are currently working both at sea and with shore-based organizations including the National Port Authority, APM Terminals, Liberia Electricity Corporation, etc. Some of the cadets, I am told, are also assigned on board with shipping companies such as Orion, Unisea, Atlantic Lloyd, d’Amico, etc.

This is indeed a milestone for which I say a big congratulations to the School and the Liberia Maritime Authority. At the same time, we must continue to secure placements for all our cadets, which is the ultimate goal of this initiative.

To our dear parents, I say thank you for your moral and financial support to these young people. As a parent myself and as one who has mentored many young people, I know of the challenges and sacrifices required to bring children this far. I am also aware that investing in children’s education is the surest and safest way of making them productive and giving them a good future.

To the graduates, I say congratulations! I urge you not to take yourselves just as cadets; you are graduates who are going to be amongst those shining stars that help the name of Liberia illuminate so brightly in the comity of nations. By pursuing studies at this prestigious Institution, you are genuinely placing yourselves on an enviable track of human resource development. The pride is not just for your family but, even further, for your country and people who will derive the dividends of the feat of the new skill set you have achieved here today. I should thus challenge you to go out there and proudly raise the flag of Liberia to nobler heights.

As you proceed, I want to remind you to never overlook the fact that you will experience good times, but you should also prepare for challenges ahead. Your best strategy is to prepare yourself and stay strong, knowing that you carry the hopes and aspirations of your family, community, and your country. I have no doubt that positive things are about to happen in your life. Be mindful however that it will be unfolding in an industry that requires discipline and hard work.

In the challenging times you may face, it’s important to find a purpose for your life. Having a purpose is crucial in pursuing a mission. It’s the reason you exist at this particular time in history. Your very existence is intertwined with the things you are meant to accomplish. Whatever career path you choose, remember that the struggles you encounter are meant to shape you for your purpose.

I urge you to stand strong and resilient as you confront these challenges. Take courage in knowing that you are contributing to advancing your country. It is essential to take ownership of your country’s direction and recognize that a country develops no higher than its people.

Keep in mind that success doesn’t come easily. You can’t achieve great things without putting in the effort. Leaving behind the comfort of your home, the warmth of your social connections, and the support and joy of your family to live a disciplined life for two years in pursuit of this achievement is a clear demonstration of your determination, willpower, and character.

As you venture into the world, always aim to cultivate a strong character and be a positive representative of your community. Remember, intelligence and knowledge, without good character, can be harmful. Strive to reflect the values of the education and guidance you have received here.

Fellow citizens, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen;

I want to acknowledge the Government’s appreciation to all of our partners, including LISCR, for their contribution to the transformation of this Institution. Today, the Liberia Maritime Training Institute (LMTI) is enrolling a group of twenty-four (24) cadets for a two-year program to obtain an Associate Degree in Marine Engineering.

The upgrading from a mere General-Purpose Rating Program to an Associate Degree level course offering institution certainly deserves our commendation.

I am told this Associate Degree course is offered in accordance with the IMO Standard for Training, Certification, and Watch-keeping (STCW) A-III/1 for the function of Marine Engineering, Electrical, Electronic, and Control Engineering and Repair at the Operational level (Class 3).

With our collective and continued support, Liberia is starting its first Certificate of Competence (Class 3) courses in June of this year. After a year of sea time, these same seafarers sitting the course will meet the qualification for Class 2 & 1, at the Level of Chief Engineers onboard international vessels. I see this as a valuable course we are embarked upon.

In our continuous effort to build a strong maritime nation and maintain our position as a leading flag state, we aim to increase the number of seafarers we send aboard vessels. Furthermore, we are in the process of developing a program to certify seafarers for all professional roles aboard vessels navigating the sea. Undoubtedly, this initiative will lead to increased employment, boost the country’s GDP, and contribute to overall economic growth. Additionally, it will ensure Liberia’s prominent presence in the global maritime industry.

Let this occasion therefore signal to us that our country is on track with no intention to indulge in doing business as usual. There will be challenges on our way to get there, but we will definitely get there, as our primary quest is what we can get for the next generation, not what the next election holds for us.

Huge congratulations go to you graduates and thank you all for your time. May I say in closing that by this graduation at this time you are Thinking Liberia, Loving Liberia so that you contribute to building s great Liberia.

Thanks, and God bless you!

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