National Heroes honoured

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The contribution to country and people came into the fore yesterday as the nation recognised its six national heroes.
During yesterday’s National Heroes’ Day wreath laying ceremony to celebrate the legacies and lives of Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, King Court or Prince Klass, Dame Georgiana “Nellie” Robinson, Sir George Walter, Sir Vivian Richards and Sir Lester Bird, the contributions of the latter two who are living national heroes were praised.
The athletic and political careers of Sir Lester, who served as prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda for two terms; and legendary cricketer Sir Viv, were chronicled by Government’s chief Communications officer Maurice Merchant who was the masters of ceremony for the celebration at Heroes’ Park in Thomlinson.
“Sir Lester was responsible for invigorating tourism in the late 1980s and in the 90s, he oversaw the expansion of land and cruise-based tourism which greatly improved the sector’s contribution to the GDP [Gross Domestic Product],” Merchant said.
Sir Isaac who is also known as the “Master Blaster,” was a champion cricketer who is known for his forceful batting skills and is arguably the greatest batsman of his generation.
In his career, he played 121 test matches and scored 8,450 runs collectively, at an average of 50.23 runs per innings.
“[This] included 24 centuries,” Merchant added. “Sir Vivian also scored five centuries in the World Series Cricket; in total, he hit 84 sixes in Test Cricket, with his highest innings of 291 on the list of West Indies highest individual scores.“
Wreaths were first laid at the tombs for Sir Vere, and Sir George at the National Park. Wreaths were also laid at the King Klass Monument and that of Dame Georgiana.
The objective of National Heroes’ Day is to bring forth in all Antiguans and Barbudans the memory of those fellow men and women who have in some way led the history of the country forward toward a prosperous and fraternal one.
Sir Vere was the first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda in 1981 and although he lacked formal education aside from primary school, his work experience in both the Salvation Army and the Antigua Trades and Labour Union sparked his interests in unionism and politics. He was elected to the colonial legislature in 1945 and became the founding member of the now Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party.
King Court is considered Antigua’s most notable and bravest hero. In 1736 Klaas and three other slaves who were fed up with their deplorable conditions, planned an elaborate revolt against the slave owners, however, their plot was discovered and they were all executed.
At the mere age of 18, Dame Georgiana founded her own school T.O.R Memorial School which offered disadvantaged children a chance at secondary education.
Sir George Herbert Walter was the second premier of Antigua and Barbuda.
In his short tenure from 1972-1976, Sir George managed to pass the Social Security and Labour Acts, which were adopted, by many Caribbean islands. 

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