Born on the 9th of December 1909, Vere Cornwal Bird is probably the most accomplished politician to date, in the history of Antigua and Barbuda. On the 1st of January 1960 Vere Bird became the country first Chief Minister until 27 Feb 1967.
In 1965, Vere Cornwal Bird was one of the three leaders who envisioned and played an integral role in the framing and launching of the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). The structures and foundation of Carifta, eventually became the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) in 1973. Papa Bird was also a founding member and chairman of the Organization of the (OECS) Eastern Caribbean States.
On the 27th of February 1967, Vere Cornwal Bird became the first Premier of Antigua and Barbuda until 14 Feb 1971 when he and the ALP was defeated by George Walter and the (PLM) Progressive Labour Movement. In February 1976, Vere Bird Senior was back in power and became the country's first Prime Minister on the 1st November 1981 independence day in Antigua and Barbuda. More on the life and legacy of VC Bird 1909/1999.
Vere Bird Junior is the first son of the former and first prime minister, Vere Cornwall Bird. Vere Bird Junior was responsible for Aviation Public Works and Communications when he was accused of fraud in the negotiation and subsequent misappropriation of a French loan of US$11 million for the rehabilitation of the V.C. Bird International Airport.
Leading an investigation into the matter, was a retired judge from Grenada, Sir Archibald Nedd. He concluded that although he was innocent of criminal wrongdoing, Vere Bird junior had behaved in a manner unbecoming a minister of government. In spite of the recommendations made by the commission of inquiry, Papa Bird decided to keep his son as a member of his cabinet.
Born February 21,1938, Lester Bryant Bird is the second son of Vere Cornwall Bird. After completing studies at the University of Michigan, and Gray's Inn, London, Lester Bird was a lawyer in private practice until 1976 after he was elected as an MP.
Between 1976 and 1981 after Antigua achieved independence, Lester Bird served as Minister of Economic Development, Tourism and Energy in Antigua. By 1991 Lester bird was serving in the capacity of Minister of Foreign Affairs in his father's government.
On March 9th 1994, He became the second prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda. Lester Bird and his cabinet reigned supreme in Antigua from 1994 until he was defeated by Baldwin Spencer and the UPP on the 24 of March 2004. He presided over a government riddled with scandals. Before leaving office in 2004, he was accused of having a sexual affair with a minor. In April 2003 he was ordered to testify in a civil case accusing him of raping a teenage girl. He was eventually cleared by a judge on the grounds of insufficient evidence. More on the alleged accusations.
The Bird brothers had their share of drug-related scandals in Antigua. In 1990, Vere Bird allegedly helped ship 100 Uzi machine guns and 400 Galil automatic rifles through Antigua to the Medellin cocaine cartel in Colombia. After the scandal broke, it was said that drug trafficking and money laundering were keeping the tiny nation's economy running.
On May 5, 1995, Ivor Bird the fourth son of VC Bird senior and brother of Lester and Vere Jr., was arrested at the VC Bird international airport with 12 kilos of cocaine as he attempted to board a flight. Instead of going to prison, he paid a $75,000 fine, as allowed under Antiguan law, and is now free.
Unlike his brothers vere and lester who became lawyers in Antigua, Ivor Bird dream was to bring a modern radio station to the island one day. With the help of his father, he acquired the money from the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and fulfilled his dream. On the 30 th November 1970 ZDK came on the air broadcasting on the 1100 spot on the AM dial serving the Eastern Caribbean with 10,000 watts and the link between the studios in St. John's and the transmitter site was a FM transmitter with 10 watts on 99.0 FM.