GNN Profile Of The Week: The Man Oscar Cooper; His Dream For Liberia

Senator Oscar Cooper
Senator Oscar Cooper

This week we profile another Liberian whose sole objective is to see his home Country, Liberia makes the difference among the comity of nations.

Honorable Oscar Cooper is one of Liberia’s respected and fearless Liberian Senators who have over the years advocated for the rights of all Liberians, a step admired by Liberians for being steadfast in performing his legislative duties.

Recently, hundreds Liberians from all over gathered on the grounds of Kakata, the administrative seat of Margibi County to petition him to contest for the nation’s high seat, the presidency come October 10, 2017 as an independent candidate.

Senator Oscar Cooper
Senator Oscar Cooper

His pick by these citizens did not take many by surprise being aware of his interest to see his Country taken the next level in its improved development.

The Oscar Cooper Xperience in its bid to see Liberia making the difference among the comity of nations is enhancing Liberians to take control of their economy; meaning Liberians first, to develop the private sector in order to create jobs and decent living wages, a program that believes in building the capacity of the youth with technical skills training and job creation.

The Margibi County Fearless Senator, Oscar Cooper
The Margibi County Fearless Senator, Oscar Cooper

The Oscar Cooper Xperience is also contemplating on establishing a movement that believes in the strength of the Liberian people, an agenda that will reduce the President, Senators, Representatives; Ministers and Managing Directors’ benefits and salaries to a moderate levels, serving the people by providing decent health care, quality education and infrastructure development, taking Liberia out of Monrovia, transforming Liberia into an agriculture economy, and to also establish a movement to promote a sense of patriotism, pride and love for each other and country.

GNN personality of the week represents the people of Margibi County in the Liberian House of Senate  was born in Monrovia, Liberia on April 20, 1953. He has been married to Bindu Taylor Cooper for 34 years and they have two children, Kai 33 and Dale 31.

He moved to Clay Ashland in Montserrado County to stay with his aunt from 1958 to 1959.

sen-o-cooperIn 1959 his father, Samuel B. Cooper was appointed by President Tubman as District Commissioner for Bong, before it became a county. Senator Oscar Cooper moved to Gbarnga in 1960 and lived there with his mother and father and attended The Methodist Elementary School in Gbarnga.

In 1961 he was sent to England for further schooling. He returned in 1964 and moved to Monrovia to attend Methodist Elementary School on 12th Street, now called Joseph Jenkins Roberts School. He graduated and attended CWA and MCSS.

In 1973 he left for the United States where he attended his last year of high school at the MacArthur high school in Irving, Texas. He enrolled at Northeastern University, in Boston Massachusetts in 1974 and graduated in 1978.

Career

Following his graduation from Northeastern University, Senator Cooper relocated to New York City in 1978 and worked with Pannell Kerr Forster from 1979 to 1981 as a Senior Accountant.

Senator Oscar Cooper moved back home to Liberia in 1981. He worked in Grand Bassa from 1981 to 1983 as General Manager for TLC/LITE, a logging company that employed over 200 workers. In 1983 he was transferred to Nimba County as General Manager for Cestos Nimba Corporation (CNC).

Senator Oscar Cooper lived and worked in Nimba from 1983 to 1985 employing over 300 Liberians working at the sawmill and in the forest.

In 1985, Senator Oscar Cooper moved on to work for a leading construction company, Ecocon as General Manager. He managed the construction of the AFL Barracks in Saniquillie from 1985 to 1986. He worked with Ecocon until the war.

In 1996, after the war, he worked again in logging for a company in Rivercess with Rivercess Logging Company for 3yrs as General Manager. During that time, he employed and managed over 300 workers from 1996 to1999.

In 1999 he established his own company, Inland Logging Company (ILC), built from nothing to a company employing over 1,000 in Greenville, Sinoe County. 300 workers worked in the bush (forest), 300 worked in the Greenville port and over 300 worked in stevedoring on various ships. He was the chief executive officer of his own company (ILC) until 2003 when he lost his investment due to “world wars 1, 2, and 3”.

In 2005 Senator Oscar Cooper moved to his family farm in Margibi County, where he rehabilitated the farm and has replanted some 600 acres of rubber. The farm currently employs over 100 Liberians.

From 2009 to 2011, Senator Oscar Cooper served on the board of the National Social Security as Vice Chairman on investment.

 Philanthropic Achievements

  • The supply of electricity to the city of Greenville in 2001 and 2002
  • Renovation of Greenville City Hall.
  • Renovation of the administrative Building for Sinoe.
  • Renovation of the multilateral high school.
  • Renovation of the football stadium in Greenville.
  • Renovation of the Grant Hospital in Greenville.
  • Donation of a 30 KVA generator and streetlights to the people of Zwedru, Grand Gedeh County.
  • Financial support for the doctor of the Grant Hospital with the provision of a US$500 monthly salary.
  • Donation of USD$15,000 to the government teachers in Sinoe as salary support.
  • Monthly financial assistance to the Chiefs.
  • Monthly financial assistance to the Police and Immigration Departments
  • Establishment of a student work program in Greenville and Zwedru that provided a cup of rice and US$1 daily to high school students who worked to keep the cities clean.
  • In 2002 Senator Oscar Cooper established The Idella E. Cooper Foundation, offering scholarships to 150 students at the University of Liberia. Unfortunately, in 2003 the war interrupted this program. However, in 2007 the Idella E. Cooper Foundation was re-launched with the opening of the school on the family farm.
  • In 2007Senator Oscar Cooper and his wife Bindu rehabilitated and extended the old school building on the family farm. The Hilda Knight-Cooper School currently provides free schooling for 250 children who live in the villages around the farm.
  • Senator Oscar Cooper, Bindu and his brother Dr. Emery Cooper constructed, furnished and staffed a Primary Healthcare Clinic on the family farm. Samuel B Cooper Healthcare provided free primary healthcare to 5,000 people in upper Margibi. Unfortunately, during the Ebola epidemic in 2014, the clinic had to be closed due to unacceptable risk to the staff and patient population.

OSCAR COOPER’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS DURING HIS TENURE AS SENATOR

In 2011 he ran for Senator of Margibi County and won with 36,000 votes. He has served as Senator from 2012 to present.

  • Senator Cooper championed a major legislation: The Decent Work Bill, which increased the minimum daily wage from $2.00 to $5.50 per day.
  • He is advocating that Legislators, Ministers, Associate Justices, and Managing Directors of Public Corporations reduce their salaries and benefitsand that these savings be applied thus:
    • Increase of Civil Servants salaries.
    • Increase of the education budget.
    • Increase of the health budget.
    • Construction of affordable housing.
    • Increasing GOL security workers’ pay and capacity building.
    • Infrastructure investment.
  • During the Ebolacrisis in Liberia Senator Cooper did not run away from Liberia, he moved quickly to set up a group of Liberians who worked to develop a community based approach to combat this virus. The President asked SenatorCooper to take charge of the fight against the Ebola virus in Montserrado and Margibi where he worked hard with the President and International Organizations.

SENATOR OSCAR COOPER’S VISION FOR LIBERIA

  • Senator Cooper will seek to reduce the income disparity through a series of initiatives including, an improved educational system, agriculture, access to affordable and decent housing, land rights, improved health care system, and workers’ rights;
  • Senator Cooper is committed to fully implementing the rule of law and equal access to justice;
  • Senator Cooper will provide increased support to the Security Sector;
  • Senator Cooper is committed to the full implementation of the decentralization of policy and authority to improve the development process in the country;
  • Senator Cooper is committed to ensuring that Liberians are 100% participants in the country’s economy;
  • Senator Cooper is committed to the restoration of Liberia’s lost standards, morals and cultural values;
  • Senator Cooper believes that for Liberia to be developed, Liberia’s leadership must have hands on participation in the development of the country with specific focus on rural communities;
  • Senator Cooper is committed and prepared to improve our agricultural sector through mechanized farming, assisting local farmers with their technical and capacity needs through the use of innovative financing mechanisms;
  • Senator Cooper will create an enabling environment that offers opportunities for hardworking Liberians to excel and achieve economic success;
  • Senator Cooper understands that the road ahead is long and strenuous, but reminds us that if we work together, change our attitudes and exhibit a spirit of discipline and sincerity in our endeavors, we will succeed in building a new Liberia we can all be proud of.

THE OSCAR COOPER XPERIENCE IS:

  • Enhancing Liberians to take control of their economy – Liberians First
  • Developing the private sector to create jobs and decent living wages
  • A movement that believes in building the capacity of the youth with technical skills training and job creation
  • A movement that believes in the strength of the Liberian people
  • A movement that will reduce the President, Senators, Representatives, Ministers and Managing Directors benefits and salaries to moderate levels
  • Serving the people by providing decent health care, quality education and infrastructure development
  • Taking Liberia out of Monrovia
  • Transforming Liberia into an agriculture economy
  • A movement promoting a sense of patriotism, pride and love of each other and country
  • It’s all the above and a whole lot more. It’s you, it’s me, it’s our children, it’s our responsibility, it’s our legacy. It’s a better Liberia

The Oscar Cooper Xperience aims to achieve some of its goals through two main Activities

  1. Agro Projects

            Cocoa, Oil Palm, Rubber – Long-term Income Generation

Rice, sugar cane, pepper, bitter ball, cassava – short-term sustainable income and food

The Oscar Cooper Xperience has already initiated the implementation of the cocoa project by          providing training, materials and the establishment of nurseries in Nimba (Districts 3,4,5,6,8,9)           and Bong (Districts 1,2,4,5,6)

  1. Technical Boot Camp and Recreational Centres

            A program for young people 18 to 35 years of age, providing discipline, technical training and job      placement.

We aim to establish one facility in every major city of every county that will provide training in:

  • Hygiene
  • Early education
  • Carpentry
  • Masonry
  • Well digging
  • Farming
  • Mechanical apprenticeship
  • Plumbing

INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE

When a candidate runs on a party ticket, it is widely known and often practiced that if he or she is victorious, partisans must be given first preference when making government appointments irrespective of their qualifications.

As an Independent Candidate Senator Cooper is not restricted to such prejudice. He believes that all Liberians, irrespective of tribal or religious affiliations are his partisans and should be afforded every opportunity to seek employment based on experience and qualifications.

Senator Cooper will not be restricted to the traditional party structured protocols of making decisions or taking action based on party consensus. As an Independent Candidate, he has the flexibility to develop policies that are informed by the needs and the best interest of the nation.

As an Independent Candidate, Senator Cooper provides voters with a genuine alternative to the politicians of old that have made a career out of seeking the Presidency of Liberia. Senator Cooper is intimately involved in educating the voters on where he stands on issues of national concern and how he plans to address the same. This gives him the opportunity to learn about the concerns and basic needs of the people first hand and not through a third party. He does not have to tow the party line, which often confuses the public as to what one’s true position is on matters of importance. Unlike all of the other Presidential Candidates you get to know your candidate, not his or her partisans.

Historically, Establishment Presidential Candidates have always run on a party ticket, making the same promises, following the same agenda as their predecessors and after a failed attempt at leading the country, out of despair they choose to seek the protection of their institution instead of taking responsibility for their shortcomings.

Senator Cooper claims full responsibility for his decisions and actions; he has to, his name is on the ballot. He makes no excuses for implementing policies he believes are in the best interest of the nation. Liberians want change but a large majority of us are not courageous enough to embrace innovative, fresh ideas that will propel us into a new era. Senator Cooper is bold enough to change the status quo and run as an Independent Candidate for the highest office in the land. He dares to be different.

SUMMARY

The Oscar Cooper Xperience is a movement that was formed and nurtured through life experiences. Senator Oscar Cooper, ason of the soil, has spent over three decades living and working in his homeland. His experiences from administrative, to managerial, to executive and legislative positions in both the public and private sectors have enabled a formidable understanding of the Liberian Story and the challenges, hopes and aspirations of the Liberian People.

The people have lost confidence in the government’s ability to lead. A transformative approach is necessary to restore the nation’s pride in its leadership and people. Senator Cooper’s knowledge of the country’s landscape cannot be overstated and his advocacy and passion for the Liberian people is undeniable.

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About Cholo Brooks 5090 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists.