By Shermain Bique-Charles
Prime Minister Gaston Browne believes that it’s time to make it the norm to bestow honour on people who have contributed significantly to the development of Antigua and Barbuda.
Browne, who was at the time speaking at a ceremony to rename the Mount St John’s Medical Center after Sir Lester Bird, said many in society continue to undermine the contributions of individuals who would have given “all their lives towards the socio-economic development of this country”.
However, he said these men and women must be respected and not discarded out of convenience.
“These are individuals who should be made into national icons and should be revered,” he stated.
Browne said National Hero Sir Lester Bird should not be denied respect and reward because of his past indiscretions.
“Sir Lester is easily one of the most talented persons to grace the shores of this nation. There is hardly any other person that could have made such significant contributions in different aspects of our development,” Browne said.
He pointed out that some people had second-guessed his government’s decision to knight and confer National Hero status on Sir Lester in 2014, while some were also against the renaming of the hospital after Sir Lester.
“Many of them looked at his past indiscretions, but I remind us all that none of us are perfect and as the Bible says he who has not sinned, cast the first stone,” Browne added.
Apologizing to Antigua and Barbuda’s other living National Hero, Sir Vivian Richards, Browne said Sir Lester is the country’s most significant icon alive.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that there are many other Antiguans and Barbudans who should be recognised, to include former Antigua Labour Party ministers Hugh Marshall Sr, and Lionel Hurst and Earnest Williams, both of whom are deceased.