STATEMENT BY THE HON. LESTER B. BIRD M.P.
Leader Emeritus of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party
On Safeguarding the Legacy – Supporting the ABLP
July 16 2013
Blue Waters, Antigua
1. This is Lester Bird, the Leader Emeritus of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party. I have chosen to address the people of Antigua and Barbuda at this time, following a friendly chat with the new Political Leader of the ABLP—the Honourable Gaston Browne.
2. Since the creation of another political party last week, rumors have been swirling that implicate me in this wasteful and dangerous exercise. The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party has one objective only, and that is to win the 2014 general elections. The Baldwin Spencer regime has been very bad for Antigua and Barbuda. It is therefore time for the UPP to go.
3. Any undertaking which detracts from this goal is anathema to the party of Vere Cornwall Bird, the Father of the Nation. Any attempt to lend a hand to the UPP, in its drive to win a third term, is to further eviscerate my long-standing record as Minister of Economic Development since 1976, and my record as Prime Minister after 1994.
4. The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party is the obvious choice for those who wish to bring an end to the hardship and deprivation that plague the children, the unemployed, the poor, the retirees, the single mothers and the thousands of youthful school-leavers who are unable to find jobs. There is no place at the economic table for the majority of young people who are seeking entry into the labour market. The UPP has failed and will continue to fail, by its wrong-headed policies, to create a favourable investment climate. Without investment and growth, there can be no new jobs for our youngsters to fill.
5. I condemn those who think that a personal vendetta is reason sufficient to attempt to derail the obvious charge to victory to which the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party is heading. There is no sin committed which could justify destroying further the legacy of the past Labour Party administrations. There is no error made which causes the Antigua and Barbuda people to be saddled with the worst-performing government, for yet another five years. No vendetta, no sin, no error justifies disruptive and unbecoming behaviour that provides grist to those who wish to kill-off our heritage Political Party.
6. I take this opportunity to tell the Antigua and Barbuda people that the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party—the party which Vere Cornwall Bird led since 1946, the party which I led after 1994, and the party which is now led by Comrade Gaston Browne—is the only party of choice for those who wish for a better Antigua and Barbuda. I further take this opportunity to fully endorse the leadership of Comrade Gaston Browne.
7. There is only one Labour Party. All others are pretenders to the legacy. Stand with Comrade Gaston Browne, stand with the heritage party that has delivered on its promise to build a new Antigua and Barbuda. Stand with the Party that will now repair the damage done to our country by an incompetent government these past nine years. It is not only the best choice. It is the only reasonable choice. I thank you for listening. This is Lester Bird, the Leader Emeritus of the ABLP.