Region pays tribute to former Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Sir Lester Bird

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Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has extended condolences to the government and people of Antigua & Barbuda on the passing of Sir Lester Bird Antigua’s second Prime Minister.

“The government and people of Dominica extend condolences to the government and people of Antigua & Barbuda and the family of Sir Lester Bird former Prime Minister of Antigua,” he said.

Skerrit describes the late Sir Lester Bird as an “Antiguan National Hero” who served Antigua and the region with distinction.

GUYANA: President Ali’s statement on the passing of Sir Lester Bryan Bird, Former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda

 

Sir Lester was a good friend of Guyana and the Guyanese people. He stood firmly and consistently with us in defence of our sovereignty and territorial integrity, raising his considerable voice in the UN, the Commonwealth and other hemispheric fora.

Sir Lester opened the doors of Antigua and Barbuda to many thousands of Guyanese at a time of economic decline in our country, and in so doing, cemented his legacy as a true integrationist, which will forever be marked in the annals of history.

We are indebted to Sir Lester and Antigua and Barbuda, not only for the generosity towards our people at a time of need, but for the unflinching support of Guyana on the international stage.

The records show that he was highly regarded by all of Guyana’s Executive Presidents with whom he served, from Linden Forbes Burnham to Dr Bharrat Jagdeo.

On behalf of the people of Guyana and on my own behalf, I extend sincere condolences to Sir Lester’s family, friends and the people of Antigua and Barbuda.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you at this difficult time.

GRENADA:

Prime Minister Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell has expressed condolences on the passing of Sir Lester Bird, former Prime Minister and national hero of Antigua and Barbuda.

Dr Mitchell who is the current Chairman of the OECS Authority, said the Caribbean has lost one of its illustrious sons.

The late Sir Lester Bird was first elected to the House of Representatives in 1976 and was appointed Deputy Prime Minister. In 1994, he led the Antigua Labour Party to victory in general elections and became Prime Minister. He also served 2 terms as Chairman of the OECS.

Reflecting on his interaction with the former Prime Minister, Dr Mitchell described Sir Lester as a ready and willing source of advice and inspiration, particularly when he was first elected as Prime Minister.

Dr Mitchell said, “Sir Lester made a valuable contribution to regional discourse on numerous issues. For me personally, he was a welcome and readily accessible source of advice when I first became Prime Minister of Grenada. In the ensuing years, we shared a very close relationship, he was very approachable and I will be forever grateful for the many conversations we had and the advice he selflessly imparted. As he takes his departure from this life, I can only extend deepest condolences to his family and to the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda. Our sister nation has lost a hero and the Caribbean has lost one of our most renowned leaders. May his soul rest in eternal peace.”

St Kitts and Nevis Opposition Leader Denzil Douglas, who served alongside Bird as a CARICOM leader, commented: “Sir Lester was a man of many gifts and talents. Above all, he is remembered for his delight and passion for nation-building, regional uplift and his unique irresistible Caribbean spirit.”

And former Montserrat Premier, Reuben Meade, said the island owes a debt of gratitude to Bird for the assistance given to persons displaced by the volcanic activity in the 1990s.

“Montserrat and Antigua and Barbuda have long had a close fraternal relationship. However, we remain deeply grateful to the Government of Antigua & Barbuda, especially under Sir Lester’s leadership for their accommodation of our people in our greatest time of need,” he said.

“Sir Lester will forever remain one of the giants of the modern Caribbean society. We extend our sympathies and prayers to his immediate family, and the people of Antigua and Barbuda.”

The Commission of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States announced this afternoon that its flag will be flown at half-mast to mark the solem occassion.

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