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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

PLP’S CASSELL TO BE LAID TO REST IN US

Date:

By Moses D. Sandy  

mds66.sandy@aol.com

Contributor

NEW CASTLE, DELAWARE – The remains of the Vision and Standard Bearer of the opposition People’s Liberation Party (PLP), Dr. Daniel Cassell, will be laid to rest this weekend in the United States of America (USA). He will be buried at the Laurel Hill Cemetery in Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.

According to Mrs. Bindu Cassell, widow of the deceased, the funeral rituals will begin on Friday, January 27th with a night of wake keeping at the Victory Harvest International Church in Southwest Philadelphia. On Saturday, January 28th, a worship service celebrating the deceased’s life will be held at the same church. The service will be proceeded by interment.

Scores of US-based Liberians including partisans of the PLP, and friends and relatives of the Cassell family are expected to attend the funeral. Dr. Cassell died a month ago in the US where he resided for many years. He was more than 56 years old. He was born on January 8, 1966, in Liberia, West Africa.

According to Mrs. Cassell, her husband expired on the evening of December 25, 2022, at their upscale residence located in Perkasie, Pennsylvania. Speaking to this reporter, Bindu said he died minutes after he collapsed and lost consciousness in the basement of their home following a period of exercise.

She recalled, “When he fell, I applied CPR (Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation); and later called for emergency service, but all efforts to revive him failed”. She explained, “The emergency crew did everything possible to help, but they didn’t succeed. They later pronounced him dead; and I saw the people putting my husband’s remains in the body bag”. She said an autopsy was later performed on the deceased. “The autopsy report cited the cause of death as unknown,” she said holding back tears.

Family Man

Bind described her late husband as a loving and dedicated family man. She said he was a good husband. Adding, “He was a caring, supportive, and dependable father. He did everything for his family; he spoiled me”. The late Dr. Cassell was a father of six. Little Daniel Cassell, Jr, is the youngest of his children.

He is almost three years old. According to family sources, the fallen PLP Presidential Hopeful was born and raised in Monrovia. His father was the late Mr. Edward Cassell. Mrs. Esther Saybah Cassell is his mother. She resides in Atlanta, Georgia. The deceased lost his father at age eight. His father reportedly died as a result of a tragic motor accident. The late Dr. Cassell was a Christian. He was a Pentecost.

Not Born with Silver Spoon

Speaking to reporters in Monrovia during a life review interview a year ago, the late Dr. Cassell declared, “I know what it means to live without a regular meals and the basic necessities of life”. He said after his father died, he, his mother, and his siblings struggled like most underprivileged Liberian families in making ends meet. He said he benefited from scholarship opportunities to go to school.

According to his mother, the fallen PLP Leader almost lost his life during the Liberian civil when Special Forces Commander, CooCoo Dennis, of the disbanded National Patriotic Front of Liberia (NPFL) in the early 1990’s threatened to kill him. She recalled, “The Commander told Daniel to open his mouth and he did. He put the gun in his mouth, but before pulling the trigger, I pleaded with him not to kill my son”. She furthered, “I told the Commander, please don’t kill my son, but kill me instead. With God’s mercy, he listened and did not kill my son”.

As the Liberian civil war progressed, the late Dr. Cassell was one of the many Liberians in the early 1990’s that fled Liberia to the West African state of Cote D’Ivoire for refuge. In Cote D’Ivoire, he told the reporters, he became homeless. He said from Cote D’Ivoire, he traveled to Paris, France.

He said a generous sea farer assisted him and a friend of his to stowaway on a vessel to France. He recounted, “We spent 30 days on the sea. When we arrived in France, it was winter time; and we had no winter clothing. The seaman gave us 100 US dollars for pocket change and bid us farewell”. Upon arrival in France, the late Cassell told the reporters, he and his friend became homeless again. He recalled, “We lived in shelters and abandoned homes. Moreover, we had difficulty navigating the country’s social system due to the language barrier. As a result, I left for Europe”.

Migration to US

He told the reporters, “I always had the wish of traveling to the US in search of better life and education”. To accomplish that wish, he said, he secured a visa for Nicaragua, a country located in Central America. He said he traveled to Nicaragua and later made his way to the State of Texas. He recalled, “When I entered the US, I applied for political asylum, but my claim was denied”. However, he said, he remained resilient. He said he resided in the US for over 25 years without permanent legal status. He disclosed, “I worked multiple jobs and secured two masters and a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. I became a US resident a few years ago after I met and married my wife Bindu”.

The late Dr. Cassell was a clinical psychologist and business consultant. He worked for many years as a behavior specialist consultant in the US and later established Kwenyan Professional Health Services, a mental health, behavioral, and substance abuse agency in the State of New Jersey. He founded Kwenyan Professional Health Services in 2008 after he became licensed as a professional counselor in Pennsylvania.

In 2009, the late Dr. Cassell also became a licensed clinical drugs and alcohol counselor in the State of New Jersey in 2009. This enabled him to begin his career in private practice. After a year in private practice, Kwenyan Professional Health Services was approved by the New Jersey Division of Child Behavioral Health as an intensive in-home and community service provider.

Political Life

Dr. Cassell was an eminent Liberian politician. He reportedly relocated to Liberia in 2014. He was the brain and foremost financier of the PLP. The Party is one of the newest opposition political parties in Liberia. The PLP was founded and certificated as a full fledge political party in Liberia by the National Election Commission (NEC) in 2020.

He was one of many presidential hopefuls that remain committed to making Mr. George Manneh Weah of the ruling Coalition of Democratic Change (CDC) a one-term president because of gross incompetence and bad governance. Liberia’s next general and presidential elections are scheduled for Tuesday, October 10, 2023.

He was a fearless critic of President Weah and the CDC hegemony for uncontrollable malfeasance in the public sector. In August of 2022, he commended the US government and welcomed the Department of the Treasury’s targeted sanctions imposed on three former officials of the Weah administration for acts of corruption.

On August 15, 2022, the US Department of the Treasury sanctioned the former Minister of State for Presidential Affairs, Nathaniel McGill, Solicitor General Sayma Cyrenius Cepheus, and the Managing Director of the National Port Authority (NPA), Bill Twehway, for engaging in corrupt practices in the public sector for their own personal benefits.

According to the US Department of Treasury, the reported actions of the sanctioned officials undermined the Liberian democracy and the country’s ability to thrive. The late Dr. Cassell in a press release then applauded the US government for the action taken in the fight against brazen acts of corruption in the Liberian government. He said it was shameful and embarrassing for President Weah to sit in Monrovia unmoved while a foreign country took the lead in identifying and weeding out corrupt officials in the CDC administration.

Humanitarian Services

The late Dr. Daniel E. Cassell, was not only a politician, but he was also, a notable humanitarian. In Liberia and abroad, his name resonated with many Liberians for kindness. He was dubbed the “Zogos” or Liberia’s at risked youth’s father. The Zogos gravitated toward him because he fed and clothed them most of the times.

For some Liberians, the late Dr. Cassell was what they called in Liberian parlance, “The walking ATM (automated teller machine)” because everywhere he went, he was doing good. He offered scholarships to students and donated to the needy through the Daniel E. Cassell Humanitarian Foundation. The foundation was a non-profit organization and it made significant impacts on the lives of students, and the visually and physically challenged. Also, the foundation touched the lives of the destitute and dejected in Liberia through the offering of cash assistance and food including rice.

Besides the poor, officers of the Liberia National Police (LNP) also, benefited from the late Dr. Cassell’s goodwill. In December 2018, the foundation donated to the LNP multiple speed guns and breathalyzers. According to the late Dr. Cassell, the donation was intended to help the police curb or reduce the high rate of fatal accidents and excessive speeding in Liberia.

Receiving the donations on behalf of the LNP, Inspector General, Patrick Sudue, remarked, “Many Liberians traveled and return to Liberia with criticisms against the force. With budget constraints, Dr. Cassell saw the need to help this noble institution. Since 1847 this is the first-speed gun LNP will have for themselves. These speed trackers will help; we have never held a speed gun before”.

In 2021, the late Dr. Cassell through the PLP commissioned ten 72-seater buses to ease the transportation challenges the poor in Liberia contend with in commuting in Monrovia and its environs. In the year 2020, the deceased also, made a monetary donation of US $10,000.00 to the leadership of the Press Union of Liberia (PUL) when he served as the Keynote Speaker at the Union’s 56th Congress held in Tubmanburg, Bomi County. The money he said then was meant to help the PUL’s leadership in its quest of championing press freedom in Liberia.

Legal Woes

Dr. Cassell’s fame and presidential ambition took a nosedive in 2022 after federal authorities in the State of New Jersey probed and charged his company, Kwenyan Professional Health Services for allegedly defrauding the US Medicaid program of more than 3.6 million dollars for shady services it claimed to have provided clients in the state.

In March 2022, he returned to the US in the wake of federal charges filed against Kwenyan. Upon arrival in the country, he was held briefly in Atlanta, Georgia, and later extradited to New Jersey for prosecution. He was reportedly released on bail and he remained in the US until December 25, 2023, when he died suddenly.

Commenting on the case at a town hall gathering hosted by the PLP-USA Chapter on July 9, 20222, the late Dr. Cassell dispelled rumors that he was being held captive and was wearing an ankle bracelet in the US. He clarified that Kwenyan Professional Health Services was being investigated.

He said, “As a business owner and a responsible leader, I take full responsibility for whatever reportedly happened while I was away”. He told his audience, “The case is in court; and with God’s grace, I know justice will prevail. I believe in the US criminal justice system.”

He said, “In this country, I know that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.” He furthered, “I am not a criminal. As an individual, I have not been charged with a crime, or sent to jail in this country”. The town hall political gathering was held at the All-Nations Christian Church located in Clifton Heights, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

In September 2022, a Grand Jury in the State of New Jersey indicted the deceased and some former employees of Kwenyan Professional Health Services on allegations of insurance fraud among other counts. A statement released then from the office of the New Jersey Attorney General, Matthew J. Platkin and the Office of the Insurance Fraud Prosecutor (OIFP), announced that the grand jury charged and indicted the fallen PLP Presidential Hopeful and the others for first-degree money laundering, second-degree theft by deception, and multiple counts of conspiracy, insurance fraud, among others. They were awaiting trial in New Jersey when he died on Christmas Day.

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