ST JOHN’S, Antigua – A “pioneer”, “passionate” and “giving” is how colleagues, friends and family described Vere Cornwall Bird Jr, who died on Easter Sunday at the age of 76.
The eldest son of deceased father of the nation, Sir Vere Bird Sr, and elder brother of former prime minister, Lester Bird, died of heart failure, just days after being diagnosed with liver cancer.
Remembering his brother, and admitted sometime rival, Lester Bird said it had been “a very good ride” for the siblings who were just two years apart, with Bird Jr being born in 1936.
“Even though I am very sad, I know he has led a full life,” the Antigua Labour Party’s (ALP) emeritus leader said in an interview with OBSERVER media.
The former prime minister said he wanted his brother to be remembered as a “very warm, loving human” who had a “special nexus with the people” of the twin-island nation.
Bird Jr was an attorney and stalwart of the ALP, serving his party as a parliamentarian for almost thirty years for St John’s Rural South – between 1976 and 2004, when he left the political arena.
Acting minister of education, sports, youth and gender affairs Senator Winston Williams Jr, who challenged and won the Rural South constituency from Bird in 2004, expressed his condolences in a press release.
Williams lauded the “contribution” of the longest serving MP for his service to the nation’s sporting sector.
The former MP also served stints as minister of aviation, public information and public utilities, minister of public works and communication and later minister of science, technology and communications. The attorney ended his ministerial career in 2000 as minister of agriculture, lands and fisheries.
The body of Vere Bird Jr has been taken to Straffie’s Funeral home, awaiting funeral arrangements.
(More in today’s Daily OBSERVER)