Senator Oscar Cooper of Margibi County has described his colleagues in the Liberian Senate as “lazy group of people” who are earning huge salaries and allowances without performing.
Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, March 21 in his office at the Capitol Building, he said salaries and allowances allotted to Liberian Legislature are sufficient to encourage them spend more time on the job, but on the contrary, they (lawmakers) receive those huge amounts at the detriment of the population and still fail to execute their responsibilities as sitting lawmakers.
His comments are in the wake of a report from three senate committees namely; Ways, Means, Finance and Budget; Banking and Currency and Judiciary, seeking to find out the core of the economic downturn of the Liberian economy.
The report was prepared about a month ago, but has not been discussed on grounds that the lead discussants had not attended session.
During regular session on Tuesday, Bomi County Senator Sando Johnson moved that the report be deferred to Thursday, 23 March, but in apparent disappointment, the Margibi County lawmaker, who is also a Presidential hopeful, exploded in anger, saying his colleagues were very lazy in doing the job they once canvassed, begged people, and spent monies for.
According to him, if elected President, in the impending elections, salaries, allowances and benefits of government officials would be cut to US$4,000. Senate Cooper lamented that it makes no sense for officials to earn huge salaries and benefits, while majority of the people, who are taxpayers live on less than a dollar per day.
“This is disappointing for the Liberian government to be paying such huge amount in salaries and benefits and our colleagues don’t want to work. I think, if given the opportunity to serve as president, senior government officials including President, Vice President, senators, representatives and all senior officials will earn not more than US$4,000 per month,” he said.
The senator pointed out that the best option is for members of the House of Representatives, who are seeking reelection to start the process of reduction of salaries, allowances and benefits, if the Liberian people should take them serious. Commenting on the controversial Code of Conduct, he said the law is the law, and it should be duly respected, and if anyone has problem with it, the legal procedure is to repeal such instrument through the Liberian Legislature rather than mere criticism.
Senator Cooper is seeking the presidency here in the October 10th elections as an independent candidate.
By E. J. Nathaniel Daygbor -Editing by Jonathan Browne