The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) extends sincere condolences to the family, colleagues, friends and nation on the passing of national hero and former Prime Minister, Sir Lester Bryant Bird, who died earlier today. Like other citizens and residents, we are shocked by the news as previous reports indicated that he was recuperating well from a recent surgery.
In his early life and prior to his foray into politics, Sir Lester was known and admired for his sporting feats in cricket, track and field and long jump. As a politician, his contributions to the economic and social development of Antigua and Barbuda cannot be gainsaid and his leadership at both the OECS and CARICOM levels was impactful and valued by his peers. He is credited for repositioning our tourism sector and for modernizing St. John’s city with the construction of the Heritage Quay complex which transformed commerce and economic activity for locals and improved visitor experience for guests who graced our shores.
Sir Lester is also to be credited for bowing to relenting pressure from combined opposition forces which led the way to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the Medical Benefits Scheme and most notably, the clamour for electoral reform in 2003 which produced a clean voters’ list that eventually led the way for the historic defeat of the Antigua Labour Party at the polls in 2004 after its grip on power for a consecutive 28-year period from 1976 – 2004.
Joanne Massiah, Political Leader of the DNA, remarked, “Sir Lester’s death signals the end of an era … may his contributions to our nation and the region transcend time.”
May his soul Rest in Peace.