-Sen. Oscar Cooper
Margibi County Senator Oscar Cooper has reiterated his stance that the exorbitant salaries and allowances of members of the legislature be reduced and directed to the welfare of civil servants, especially the security sector – a very pivotal sector that needs immediate and adequate attention.
He said that funds deducted from members of the legislature should be primarily allocated to not just security personnel, but teachers and medical workers.
Senator Cooper, and independent presidential candidate, spoke at one of the Ducor Debates for presidential candidates held over the weekend at the University of Liberia Fendall Campus. He said lucrative salaries and incentives for civil servants, especially security personnel, remain one of his priorities, if he is elected president on October 10.
Cooper is contesting the presidency on the platform of the Oscar Cooper Xperience.
“To maintain peace and attract more investors to the country, we need to make our country more secure; and as such, the security sector must be given deserving salaries that would enable the officers execute their duty efficiently,” he said.
Senator Cooper was at the debate with Simeon Freeman of the Movement for Progressive Change; MacDella Cooper of Liberia Restoration Party; and Jeremiah Whapoe of the Vision for Liberia Transformation.
He said unless the leaders focus on improving the livelihoods of those playing major roles in the development and protection of the country’s economy, Liberia would not achieve its anticipated development goals.
He stressed that it is better to give nurses, doctors, police, army and other civil servants more salaries and benefits than those who consider themselves as ‘big shots’ in government.
“When it comes to security, it is a major aspect to any postwar country. As we all know, the international community invested billions of dollars in bringing peace to Liberia; and we that are vying for the presidency should maintain that peace,” he said.
According to Sen. Cooper, in order to maintain the country’s peace, Liberia must do more for her security sector.
“So we have to be strong and firm in beefing up and building the capacity and paying our security forces by giving them benefits and housing so that they can secure the citizens,” he added.
Sen. Cooper said when this is done, the security personnel would be vigilant in executing their duty by fighting crime.
On improving the economy, Cooper maintained that Liberians need to take their economy back from the hands of foreigners; something which he said is unwholesome and must not continue.
“We must build the capacity of Liberians, especially the youth by making them qualified and competent so that they can compete with their foreign counterparts. No nation can develop without having a strong labor force. This is one of the components that also attract investors,” he said.
The Margibi County lawmaker maintained that government under his administration will leave no stone unturned in the fight against corruption, “which is the only way to fight the epidemic that is eating the fabric of the nation.”
To minimize corruption in Liberia, Sen. Cooper said there should be no interference in the affairs of anti-graft institutions. “The president should not interfere in the works of the General Auditing Commission, Liberia Anti-Corruption Commission, Public Procurement Concession Committee, and other anti-graft agencies established for such purpose,” he said.
Cooper reiterated that his government will commit itself to empower Liberian youth through vocational and technical education, if they must be self-reliant to contribute to the economy.
He said the building of youth camps in and outside of every major city that would focus on the development of the youth will not be taken lightly by his administration.
Also speaking, MacDella Cooper said her administration will focus on the provision of quality education to the youth. “They need to be empowered with quality education, because this is the way to improve their current conditions,” she noted, adding that women must be protected against gender-based violence.