EDITORIAL: Dr. Daniel Estrada Cassell (January 8, 1966-December 25, 2022) -An Epitaph

“IN A DYING civilization, political prestige is the reward not of the shrewdest diagnostician, but of the man with the best bedside manner”—Eric Ambler.

LIBERIA’S POLITICAL space was overtaken by disbelief, grief, sorrow, pain and frustration when the untimely demise of Dr. Daniel Estrada Cassell, Standard/Vision Bearer and Political Leader of the fledgling People’s Liberation Party (PLP), one of the few political parties which has made bold intent to contest and wrestle power from the ruling Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) come 2023, was announced on Christmas Day, December 25, 2022 in the United States of America.

THOUGH DEATH IS an unknown and uninvited guest to mankind that comes calling at any time, the death of Dr. Cassell at this time, especially in the ensuing political season where he has invested so heavily as a major stakeholder, is something that is disheartening and will definitely adversely impact on the process that is expected to produce a president, vice president and 88 lawmakers next year.

WE FEEL SADDENED, and like the many other individuals and institutions that have expressed their condolences and send out consoling messages to the bereaved family, also want to take this time to register our profound sympathy and pray that the Almighty God who is the Maker and Taker provides the much needed comfort and fortitude for the bereaved family, relatives, friends, the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) and well-wishers to bear the burden of this irreparable loss.

Love him or loathe him, Dr. Cassell will be leaving behind a huge indelible imprint and legacy which he vehemently worked towards with his trademark love for humanity while pursuing his humanitarian works and which he also indeed transitioned to his political philosophy.

HIS LIFE IS an excellent example of hard work, seriousness and determination as his rise to prominence was not paved with gold or any precious stones. He once told the story of his emigration to the United States of America by getting to France from Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire as a “stowaway” and then to the United States where through sheer determination, he worked, attended universities and qualified as a physiologist and worked as a behavioral specialist/consultant.

HE WAS LATER able to establish a thriving business entity, Kwenyan Professional Health Services from where he made an amazing fortune over time. Despite his wealth, Dr. Cassell was not selfish like others; his love for humanity and country made him locate most of his activities back home to assist in whatever way he could outside the government for the benefit of the people.

It was from that perspective that he registered and launched the Dr. Cassell Foundation in July 2020 with the mission of “assisting with the basic human needs of the poor, less fortunate, marginalized, and disenfranchised citizens”, and he successfully undertook some interventions that were well appreciated by the beneficiaries.

SOME OF HIS activities covered assisting orphanages, paying tuitions and fees of students, direct financial assistance to vulnerable individuals like widows, elderly, the sick, etc. He also undertook construction and rehabilitation of roads and bridges and assisted farmers and market women in their businesses.

HE EVEN WENT further in March, 2021 to put a smile on the faces of employees of the Liberia Water and Sewer Corporation in Robertsport, Grand Cape Mount County who were protesting for their salaries and benefits due them by the entity, leading to citizens being denied access to safe drinking water. Dr. Cassell presented a cheque of $11, 310.00USD as compensation to the striking employees and also inspired them to stay hopeful.

HE DID NOT lose track of his sense for humanity to the extent that when he ventured into national politics to contest the presidency in 2023, he made it the cornerstone of his manifesto.

SO, HE ORGANIZED and registered the People’s Liberation Party (PLP) as a platform to elevate his welfarist philosophy because he was of the strongest conviction that it was not possible to do more beyond what he was doing if he did not have the authority to do certain things that require government’s decision or authorization.

IN NO TIME his message resonated with the people and the PLP became one of the serious political institutions approaching the 2023 election with vigor and determination. He made the people the center of the party’s platform, and for every opportunity he had to speak to the people, he never failed to speak about the level of neglect shown by the political elite that have made the citizens swim in abject poverty and misery.

HE WAS NOT a typical Liberian politician without passion and focus to serve the people but a practical man who knew where the source of the country’s woes was and was resolute to find the lasting solution.

AT THE MAIDEN convention of PLP, he was given the mantle to be its first standard bearer to contest the presidency in 2023, in addition to being the political leader of the party. He held on firmly and was pursuing the objective until he had a case with the United States government concerning his company which was accused of tax evasion.

EVEN IN THOSE trying times of his, he kept in contact with the Liberian people, especially his partisans and supporters whom he affectionately called “Liberators” and kept their hope alive. This can be explained from one of the last two posts he made from his official Facebook account sharing festive greetings on Christmas Day and wishing everyone a prosperous new year as well as when he celebrated reaching a 12k mark of people who followed him on Facebook.

DEFINITELY, WHEN HISTORY is rewritten, Dr. Cassell’s name will be carved in bold print for his love for humanity and the alternative way he conducted himself in politics catering to the holistic needs of the citizens. He was a man of vision, patriotism and humanity and above a God-fearing man. He will surely be missed.

ADIEU DR. CASSELL. Our thoughts are with your people. Rest in peace until we see again.

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