Sir Lester Bird loved and protected the youth


By Makeda Mikael

As we mourn the loss of our beloved LB during these turbulent times, we remember how he loved young people, listened to them, encouraged them to gather, to have an opinion, and to talk their mind courageously. During the Lester Bird era, the festive atmosphere pre-empted the type of wrangling now prevalent among young people.

Recognizing that youth must be engaged and enlightened in order to prevent boredom and the consequences of irrational behaviour, the Ministry of Economic Development which formed part of LB’s portfolio, started a grassroots upwardly mobile program to develop and train prospective employees for the many projects which were being introduced on the island.

Youth Skills was introduced to build youth for the workforce, and at its height enrolled young people in work experience in hotels, private business, and some government agencies where teaching experiences made skilled workers presentable for the active work arena.

Antigua’s young people were an active happy bunch who were learning and earning a little stipend from the Government, then moved equipped with skills to the business outlet to which their skills were directed. Entertainment and Sports were also not just encouraged, youth leaders were supported in their missions to uplift the consciousness and athletics and participatory sports of football, basketball, cricket both on the beach and at the wicket, volleyball, swimming and parties.

Lester Bird was accused of hanging out at young people’s parties and occasions, but he just loved to dance, and the kids taught him all the new moves which he was not embarrassed to learn as he  skanked, and boogied, twisted, and self-danced as all the youth did then, he was the life of the young people’s parties.

The youth arm of the Antigua Labour Party was most loyal and active under LB’s watch. They had their Government time with him every week where their leaders were given time in his Government Office to deal with concerns of young people with their Government.

This encouraged all young people’s organizations to follow suit and it was not abnormal for LB to excuse himself from meetings which were handled by his competent officers in order to make himself available to young people.

What happened to the people of Antigua and in particular the young people of our country on Sunday August 8 2021 could never have happened under the administration of Sir Lester whose modus operandi was one of consultation and conciliation, and proper governance of Police who would never have dared to tear-gas the young people – especially on police personal decision. Sir Lester would have embarrassed the Commissioner into resigning.

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  1. I gather for this lady, it was a great time because she was the chief advisor to LB. I don’t disagree with her that he did great things. LB was not perfect, but this nation benefited from his leadership. Problem is her inability to see the great things happening now. The housing projects, where persons whose housing was woefully inadequate, are now being empowered. The University of the west indies campus here hence more affordable tertiary education, the expansions in our schools, the proper equipping of the Sir LB hospital (some 30 million spent on diagnostic equipment) . LB, has openly defended his father actions (I now understand VC’s fears due to threats that were made)against teachers and some students who ended up not only being tear gassed, but some were also brutally beaten by the police. Ask Lovell if he does not think LB sanctioned that action, where even Harold was brutalized. Anyway as far as accomplishments, even the ministers who served under LB, hail the development under the current administration. Yet it seems for her once she is not being paid directly, things are brown

    • The lady is talking about LB and not VC. You seem confused. Did you swallow too much sea water in st. Lucia.

      • Speaking of St. Lucia…is it true that a certain UPP candidate is scared to go to SLU for fear of prosecution?

      • It appears she tried to use him a few months ago. Think back of his letter (feb 27th 2021) regarding the airports lands should be purchased back at any cost. You know who would get the $. About a month later is is in the hospital having a leg amputated.

        • @Tenman
          Lester didn’t write any letter. He couldn’t even keep up his pants much less turn on a computer. I suspect that the author of the letter is the same person who hates to see black people in Antigua owning anything of value. He loves black people who are always begging him for something. Just in case he did write the letter, which I doubt, I say karma is a bitch and bit him in the leg.

  2. Lester Bird like most humans have sinned. I have a very good memory. I heard a recording on CaribArena some years ago. The voice sounded like a very Senior Politician in the ALP. It had to do with a girl. Where it was allege he touched her chest area. He also paid the parents not to press charges. Who was that Politician? Those recordings were very explosive. I wondered which Party formed the Administration back then. Where Ministers were spending millions of US$ of Government monies as their own. Do you folks remember Bellwood Corporation? Just wished those IHI recordings could resurfaced and be played.

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