Former Antigua and Barbuda PM Sir Lester Bird dies at 83

Sir Lester Bird

Former Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Sir Lester Bird (83), died at 6 am on Monday morning, August 9, 2021. A statement from the Office of Prime Minister Antigua and Barbuda said that the country has lost one of its most heroic sons.

In consultation with the Prime Minister who returns to the country last Monday, the acting prime minister has ordered that all flags be flown at half-staff beginning immediately. The government has also ordered that they are planning to commence for a state funeral at an agreed-upon date would be held.

Sir Lester Bryant Bird was the second prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, and served from 1994 to 2004, and he was also a well-recognized athlete. Bird’s political career began in 1971 when he was nominated for the Antigua and Barbuda Senate. He was also named the chairman of the ALP and the Leader of the opposition in that Senate.

Bird first joined his father’s government as deputy prime minister. In addition to serving as deputy PM, he also served as a minister of economic development, energy, and tourism. He successfully benefited from tourism partnerships with foreign investors, including the construction of the Royal Antiguan hotel at that time.

Following Antigua and Barbuda’s independence in 1981, Sir Lester was given external affairs portfolio, and was also the first chairman of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) in 1982, he was again appointed as chairman of the OECS in 1989.

During the March 1994 elections, the ALP under Bird’s leadership, won 11 out of 17 seats. During these elections, the administration under Bird promised open government, an ombudsman to deal with citizens’ complaints and new jobs, especially in tourism.

Sir Lester Bird first assumed the Prime Minister’s office on March 9, 1994.

The year 2014, he was made a Knight of the Order of the National Hero (KNH) by Antigua and Barbuda.