PLP’s Cassell Seeks US, EU and Others’ Intervention -Over His Helicopter Landing Saga

The political leader and vision bearer of the People’s Liberation Party (PLP), Dr. Daniel E. Cassell has written a strongly worded letter to Liberia’s foreign partners, which include the Diplomatic corps and development partners for what he called “the callous and brazen infringement” of his rights as a Liberian citizen and the utter gross disrespect of him as a major opposition leader. He stated emphatically that “if the Court cannot give us Justice and permit itself to be used by ruling politicians who harbor malice and prejudice against opposition actors, we would be left with no other option but to stage weeks of protestations at the Roberts International Airports and the offices of the LCAA to effectively disrupt normal activities at those institutions. These actions aim to compel this government to desist from the callous infringement of our rights and permit the aircraft to fly in expeditiously”.

The letter which was copied the Liberia Council of Churches, Liberia Interreligious Council, Liberia National Bar Association, Press Union of Liberia, Collaborating Political Parties (CPP), The Rainbow Alliance of Political Parties, The National Traditional Council, The National Muslim Council, The National Legislature, and the Independent National Human Rights Commission, laid the premise for the communication where it also extolled the contribution made over the years by the foreign partners to bring lasting peace to Liberia and to make sure that every efforts to thwart it do not succeed.

“In light of the remarkable achievements we have made with your solid support which cannot be quantified in any quantum, to build peace, institutionalize and promote democracy, facilitate and strengthen rule of law, push for the adherence of basic human rights, and the actualization of good governance, the PLP is of the firm opinion that all efforts must be applied by both State Actors and Non-State-Actors of Liberia in collaboration with foreign partners to strengthen and sustain the invaluable gains that have been made thus far”.

The letter stated that in this respect, the current administration of President George Manneh Weah bears the greatest responsibility to maintain peace and tranquility, ensure good governance and respect for the rule of the law and civil liberties, adding that for Liberia to remain stable and foster forward, these fundamental values must remain adhered to and never violated and/or compromised.

“Considering the myriad of excesses and anomalies glaringly obtaining under the watch of President Weah to include, bad governance, rampant public theft, and graft, lawlessness, impunity, human rights abuses, insecurity, and secret killings as captured by the latest State Department Report and a horde of other international Reports on governance, human rights, peace, and stability, we can safely argue that the current administration is doing all to undermine the peace and stability of the country. Under this government, the triggers for conflict are pervasive, to say the least, and we can only hope that you our dear and gracious foreign friends are keenly watching”, the letter noted

Addressing the specifics in the complaint, the letter stated that the political leader through his business firm, the Kwenyan and Associates Group of Companies has lawfully acquired a helicopter to facilitate smooth and timely travels across Liberia and other parts of the region. It added that to the full extent of aviation laws and regulations, the aircraft has met all due requirements in line with aviation standards and regulations.

It was stated that contingent on the legal requirements fully met by the aircraft, both international and national clearances were obtained from the relevant authorities here in Liberia and abroad.

“Unfortunately, after we obtained clearance and landing permit from the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) bearing the signatures of its authorities, the aircraft took off from South Africa on 5th October 2021 and was scheduled to arrive in Liberia at the RIA on 14th October 2021, we shockingly received a ‘null and void’ notification while in Abidjan and about to take off for Liberia-RIA that the aircraft cannot fly into Liberia with no justification whatsoever. Additionally, we would like to bring to your attention that the aircraft smoothly flew from South Africa to Abidjan-Ivory Coast squarely because it meets all international requirements consistent with aviation standards and regulations and was duly issued a landing permit by LCAA”, the letter said.

Dr. Cassell stated in the letter that in complying with the rule of law and in search of justice from the chambers of the Court, they took the matter to the Supreme Court and the Associate Justice Yussif D. Kabba ordered the LCAA to allow the aircraft to land in Liberia pending the October 20th, 2021, court hearing. He added that on 20 October 2021, they appeared in court with their Legal Counsel before his Honor Associate Justice Yussif D. Kabba, Justice-in-Chamber where to the best of their collection the LCAA was represented by Solicitor General Saymah Serenius Cephus.

“Our Counsel ably argued on the merits of the available evidence adduced before the Court that the aircraft in question met all legal requirements for which it was permitted by the very LCAA to fly into Liberia. Whereas the government lawyer, Solicitor General Cephas immaterially and poorly argued that Kweyan and Associates Group of Companies’ lawsuit against the LCAA was without merit because it didn’t follow the proper procedure, he claims, stating that instead of the company, it should have been the Managing Company-NAC who transacted with the government to sue the LCAA”.

Dr. Cassel said the hard facts that can’t be refuted or brushed aside are that the aircraft has met all legal requirements to fly into Liberia and out of Liberia, and the aircraft is lawfully and rightfully owned by Kwenyan and Associates Group of Companies and that they were appalled that at the close of the arguments, the Justice-in-Chambers Judge Kabba sadly ruled in favor of the LCAA to unlawfully deny the aircraft from flying into Liberia.

“We wish to state with the highest degree of emphasis that the ruling of Justice Kabba is purely a TRAVESTY OF JUSTICE and brings into question the integrity and independence of the judiciary, a branch of government that millions if not billions of donors’ money have been spent to ensure the independence and intelligence of the court system of Liberia”. He added that truth be told, the ruling doesn’t represent the sacredness of the law, it instead represents “partisan politics”, something they believe the court must distance itself from to the letter.

“Excellencies, such blatant injustice perpetrated against a man only because he holds different political and fundamental views from those of the ruling establishment is not only preposterous, detestable, and ridiculous, but a shameful act of gross intolerance that must be condemned by all Liberians and foreign friends alike”, the letter said.

The communication said that the injustice, ill-treatment, and infringement of the constitutional rights of  Dr. Cassell has been subjected to is no doubt a vicious attempt by the regime to rattle and ruffle him only because of his strong and courageous criticisms of the regime. It further said that the point must be made, that Dr. Cassell and all Liberians reserve the right to bring into their country all the fine things of this world to make life desirable insofar they acquire it lawfully and meet all the legal requirements to do so.

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