Sir Lester Bird laid to rest

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Antigua and Barbuda’s late former Prime Minister Sir Lester Bryant Bird was laid to rest on Thursday after a state funeral at which he was remembered as a selfless man who gave his all to his country and his family.

Following a procession, a funeral service was held at the Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Stadium on a day declared a national holiday. Sir Lester, a national hero, died on August 9 at the age of 83.

Several tributes were delivered at the funeral service, through messages, musical presentations and song, from political and other organisations and family members.

“My father was a man who gave. He was ingenious, and gave much to his work, to his country, to his friends and to his family. That is why, as we gather here to say goodbye to him, I would like not to speak in mourning of his death but to speak in celebration of his life,” she said. “Here was a life destined to demand notice, a life that exemplified brilliance…a life that inspired emulation, a life that burned bright so that the paths of others were illuminated along the way.”

 

One of Sir Lester’s daughters, Donyelle Bird-Browne, delivering the eulogy, reflected on his personal life and his contribution to the country he led from 1994 to 2004, succeeding his father, Sir Vere Cornwall Bird.

“My father was a strategic thinker, a visionary who was brilliant, innovative and creative. As such, he contributed much to the development of this nation through his work and subsequent leadership of the Antigua Labour Party.

“He always led with humility and service. It was always about the people,” she said, adding that the late leader had “empowered a nation to catch his vision and to live their dream”.

While tributes to Sir Lester since his death have focused on his accolades and accomplishments in public life, Bird-Browne, who described her father as “her rock” when she was growing up, spoke about his family life.

 

 

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