Sir Lester Bird defends involvement in sand mining controversy


Former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird is threatening to sue those accusing him of having an unlawful stake in the mining of sand on Barbuda.

The ailing former prime minister mounted a firm defense of his involvement and that of two other colleagues when he spoke on the Barbuda Land Act in parliament this morning.

Sir Lester sought to clarify that “we did not start the mining of land.”

He explained that the venture to export Barbuda sand was started by Louisiana Red Jacket Mines and that himself and fellow shareholders Robin Yearwood and  Hugh Marshall Sr only got involved when the company was closing down.

“We decided that we could not allow the company to collapse and so we bought the shares,” the outgoing politician told the Lower House.

He denied being involved in the company “to have a conflict or rip off the Barbuda people.”

Residents allege that the three men have made millions of dollars exporting Barbuda sand over a period of several decades.

Bird admitted that although they were ministers of government at the time, the purcahse was in the best interest of the sister-isle.

“I cannot see a single reason why, if this company was collapsing and the people would be out of work, why me as a Barbudan couldn’t buy the (company.”

“I have as much right as any Barbudan to buy shares in Barbuda,” the national hero insists.

And Sir Lester says he never “actively” involved himself in the company, nor was he ever a director.

To protect the facts as he sees them, Sir Lester is threatening to go to court to sue those who argue that his involvement in the company was illegitimate.

“And I am looking to a point that if they keep saying it, I am going to bring a case against the newspaper and those who say so.”

“And I don’t lose cases” Bird warned pointing to cases against the BBC and the leader of the opposition.

He has also threatened to sue over the so-called IHI bribery scandal saying, “I had absolutely nothing to do any IHI Mr. Prime Minister. I wouldn’t sit in your government if that were the case.”

Sand mining has been blamed for environmental degradation on Barbuda. It’s also been argued that the venture has contributed very little economically to the island and its people.

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  1. Mouth open “tory jump out!

    Is this man for real? You just stated that you and others purchased the shares, meaning that you owned the company, meaning that anything WRONG or RIGHT you are responsible.

    Wait, this is the mentality of the leaders who the antiguan citizenry votes for. No wonder Antiguans are poorer everyday and don’t know why.

    Come on, this man is contradicting himself with every breath he takes. And look, it seems that is the Almighty, that has stepped in, and making him pay for his wrongs that he and others boasted about. He will slowly melt away in front the people who voted for him eyes. God nar sleep

    • Most people as they get older will melt away. At least he has contributed something positive to the development of Antigua and Barbuda. What have you done?

      • U is such a fool what have he done so good tell me look around in the past and tell me all we do im antigua we just talk. Crap

          • MSJMC? Are you serious??? Not even Lester would have the unmitigated gall to say that he should take credit for MSJMC. The cost and time overruns were unprecedented. He never finished it. Kenny Byron admitted that they took us to the cleaners when Stanford was made both lender and spender… Jeez! Let’s get real.

            BTW there are also unanswered allegations associated with the other two examples you gave…

        • Sir Lester Bird has made his fair shares of mistakes the is no question to that but give the man his dues Antigua’s Tourism product that we love to boast about is his legecy he had the vision to develop the St. John’s harbour, build Mount St. John’s started the construction of the public library, the expansion of the ARG and the list goes on
          Give Jack he jacket

    • What crap are you chatting. Shareholders are now personally responsible for the acts of management. It does not work that way in the real world. The persons who are accountable are management and possibly the board. Its like saying former US pres Obama should be held responsible for whatever happened at Google or Qualcomm because his investment portfolio included stocks in these companies. Hilary Clinton should be held accountable for whatever bad thing that happens at since she owned some of its stock? Come on, that’s not how it works

      • Y’all so politically blind it is beyond a joke maybe in y’all minds Antigua only developed from 1971-1976 and then from 2004-2014

      • Go lookup shareholder liability for closed corporations, and you’ll see they aren’t entirely immune. Regardless, A&B is a small place and the environmental impacts of sand mining has been spotlighted for a very long time. All shareholders were aware of it, but chose to ignore. They had a moral obligation to do what was right and pressure it to be shutdown or at least sell their shares to avoid culpability. If you can’t see this, then you really are politically blind.

      • Are you sure your name is not Tin Man? This is the worst attempt at spinning that I have ever come upon. As the former PM said, this was a private company with 2 principal shareholders.. Shareholders and management were one and the same.

  2. why every thing has to politicised. if a serian did buy shares would it be ok? while we fighting down our own. serians owning all the major businesses in antigua. blocks and building materials, used tires, fast food, power plant, building rentals ,car sales. just name it. is time this fight down and keep down mentality stop. any man thats original antiguan and accomplish something great lets stand behind them cause is a hand full of black people doing things. all those i know upcoming only flossing out there money showing off. i support sir lester 100. continue this mentality and all foreigners go run the country

  3. Sir Lester Bryant Bird….in my mind…except one is Blind, deaf and dumb, should have no problem, with the contribution (s) he has made or Antigua/Barbuda… Like every human being…he has his faults…but he that is without sin…let him cast the 1st stone…I know and duly believe that he has faulted along the way….but which of you…which of us …have not done some-thing…that when we look back…we wished, that we had not gone down that path…GOD bless Antigua/Barbuda.

  4. Whether Lester had any direct involvement in the company is irrelevant. The charge is that Lester profited from sand mining and Barbuda was left with nothing. If the company is closing down then let it close or have it sold PUBLICLY. How did the sand mining benefit Barbudans? So you erode the shorelines for profit and now trying to scare people into silence. Enrichment via privy information cabinet is the MO for these hustlers. Cha mon.

    • Well said! Take out the personalities and deal with the facts, and the conclusion is evident. Barbuda did not receive equitable benefit for the exploitation of its natural resources. That’s not partisan. That’s not in dispute. That’s plain and simply what happened. Attacking the messenger doesn’t change the reality.

  5. What Lester and his bandits did to Barbuda is like raping a woman. It is sad that such persons are still spoken of as honorable.

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