Bird clears air on not attending funeral service

ST JOHN’S, Antigua – Former prime minister Lester Bird is putting to rest, rumours about why he did not attend last Thursday’s funeral service for his older brother and veteran politician Vere Bird Jr at the Ebenezer Methodist Church.

There was speculation the former Antigua Labour Party (ALP) leader was too ill, while there was also talk he might have refused to go because of the rivalry that had existed between the two over the years.

“My legs are still bothering me which was the reason I didn’t attend the funeral. I went to the cemetery but I wasn’t able to go to the church because of the problem with my legs. I went to 46 North Street (where the public viewing was done) and I followed the cortege all the way into the cemetery,” he said.

He added that he’ll certainly miss his sibling and that there was no hatred between them.

The 74-year-old said he has been working hard to regain strength in his legs these past “six to eight months” following surgery for a herniated disc.

“I did an operation for a herniated disc and I’ve been having problems. The legs are not strong as they should be and that is really the problem. I went walking by the golf course and have begun some swimming and been doing therapy,” he said, as he outlined some of the steps he has been taking to improve his ability to walk and stand for extensive periods.

Bird said he has also been exercising at the gym and doing various routines three days per week.