Liberia: People’s Liberation Party Seeks US, EU Interventions Over Political Leader’s Helicopter Landing Saga

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MONROVIA – The People’s Liberation Party (PLP) has called on the Government of the United States, through its embassy near Monrovia, the European Union (EU) Delegation and other development partners to intervene into the decision taken by the Government of Liberia (GOL) to prevent its Political Leader from bringing into the country and landing his helicopter at the Roberts International Airport (RIA).

The party and the government, through the Liberia Civil Aviation Authority (LCAA) have been caught in rigmarole, making claims and counter claims over the saga.

The PLP claims that its Political Leader and Vision Bearer. Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, through his company, Kwenyan and Associates, met all legal requirements and was given a permit by the LCAA for the helicopter to land in the country, but said permit was surreptitiously revoked for unknown reasons barely a day after the chopper attempted landing in the country.

The party took the matter to the Supreme Court of Liberia, and the government has denied initially issuing a permit for the helicopter to land into the country.

“LCAA notes that at no time did Kwenyan & Associates Group of Company request for landing permit to the LCAA for which, they filed a writ of Prohibition. The Group application for an Air Service License is still being reviewed by the LCAA in keeping with the Liberia Civil Aviation and relevant international Regulations and is pending the fulfillment of all the requirements”, a release issued by the Ministry of Information, Cultural Affairs and Tourism (MICAT) stated.

But in a  communication addressed to the Diplomatic Corps, including the US, EU under the signature of its Political Leader, the PLP claimed that 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. 

The party emphasized that for Liberia to remain stable and foster forward, fundamental democratic values must remain adhered to and never violated or compromised.

It noted that despite the remarkable achievements made thus far in Liberia due to the numerous and immense contributions of Liberia’s international partners, the Coalition for Democratic Change (CDC) led-government continues to engage into anti-democratic acts, including witch-hunting key political actors.

“We wish to bring to your attention the callous and brazen infringement of the rights of Dr. Daniel C. Cassell as a Liberian Citizen of Liberia and the utter gross disrespect of him as a major opposition Leader. Accordingly, as the Liberian media has widely reported, Dr. Cassell 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. To the full extent of aviation laws and regulations, the aircraft has met all due requirements in line with aviation standards and regulations”.

The party emphasized 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, the PLP stated, that it 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, when they 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 party maintained that in complying with the rule of law and in search of justice from the chambers of the Court, it took the matter to the Supreme Court.

“Hon. Associate Justice Yussif D. Kabba ordered the LCAA to allow the aircraft to land in Liberia pending the October 20th, 2021, court hearing. On 20 October 2021, we appeared in court with our Legal Counsel before his Honor Associate Justice Yussif D. Kabba, Justice-in-Chamber. To the best of our collection, the LCAA was represented by Solicitor General Saymah Serenius Cephas”.

The party pointed out that its Legal Counsel 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, while 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. 

“But 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”.

Travesty of justice

The PLP informed the United Statesgovernment, European Union and other development partners of Liberia 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”.

The party maintained that “truth be told, the ruling doesn’t represent the sacredness of the law, but it instead represents “Partisan Politics” something, we believe, the Court must distance itself from to the letter”.

It noted that 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 party believes that the injustice, ill-treatment, and infringement of the constitutional rights its Political Leader and Vision Bearer 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”.

Right to own

“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”.

Weeks of protest

Meanwhile, the PLP is calling on the US, through its Embassy near Monrovia, the EU Delegation and other foreign friends of Liberia to intervene in a timely manner to compel the Weah led-administration to act now.

The party pointed out that it will not hesitate to exercise its constitutional right to peacefully assemble in keeping with the 1986 Liberian constitution if steps are not taking to correct the wrong in the soonest possible time.

“Finally, your Excellencies, we which to state 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 LCCA 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 party added.

The party emphasized that it recognizes the solid support of the US and others 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.

PLP said it remains of the firm opinion that all efforts must be applied by both State Actors and None-State-Actors of Liberia in collaboration with foreign partners to strengthen and sustain the invaluable gains that have been made thus far.

The party noted that 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, it 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 PLP among other things stated.

“You can’t dress more than the Town Chief”

The PLP has consistently claimed that the decision taken by its Political Leader to purchase a helicopter is intended to ensure easy and unhindered access to hear and address the plights and numerous challenges and difficulties confronting Liberians in leeward and hard-to-reach areas.

The party also claimed that medical supplies worth thousands of United States dollars will also be air lifted to various counties in a timely manner when the helicopter arrives in the country.

But scores of loyalists, including government officials continue to question the rationale behind the decision taken by Dr. Cassell to bring an aircraft into the country, ahead of the 2023 general and presidential elections in Liberia.

They believed that the move would boost Dr. Cassell’s political morale and win him favor in the eyes of the electorates of the gullible Liberian society if the government, through the LCAA allows the helicopter to fly from county to county in Liberia.

A source closed to the presidency quoted one senior confidante of President George Manneh Weah as saying “you cannot be living in a town and you want to dress more than the Town Chief”.

If this saying is anything to go by, it implies that the PLP and its Political Leader, Dr. Daniel E. Cassell will have a long way to go in ensuring that the government of Liberia allows the B430 helicopter to smoothly land and travel across Liberia.

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