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Bird, Lester (Antigua and Barbuda)

Reference work entry

Introduction

Lester Bird, the son of Vere Cornwall Bird (Antigua and Barbuda’s first prime minister), served as the country’s second prime minister from 1994 to 2004. His rule was marred by corruption scandals.

Early Life

Lester Bryant Bird was born in New York City on 21 Feb. 1938. A keen sportsman, he played cricket for the Leeward Islands and was an All-American long jumper at the University of Michigan, from where he graduated in 1962. He then completed his law studies in the UK and was called to the Bar in 1969. He returned to Antigua and Barbuda to work in private practice from 1969–76.

In 1971 Bird was appointed chairman of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) and leader of the opposition in the Senate. After the 1976 election returned the ALP to power, Vere Bird named his son as deputy premier and put him in charge of the foreign affairs, tourism and energy portfolios.

In 1981 Lester Bird became minister for external affairs, and was named the first chairman of the Organization of...

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