Leader of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party (ABLP), Prime Minister Gaston Browne, has hinted that Sean Bird, grandson of the party’s founder, Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, has already met with the leadership of the United Progressive Party (UPP) to discuss running on the ticket of the UPP in the next general elections.
“You know Sean Bird [spoke with] our chairman, the Honourable Chet Greene, just last week,” said Browne.
“Chet said, ‘we understand that you’re trying to run on a UPP ticket’,” Browne continued, “He said yes, because me can’t get no space on a Labour Party ticket. You here that kind of foolishness?”
Since the formation of the country’s self-governance structure, the Bird family had been at the helm of Antigua and Barbuda for a total of 38 years. Sir V.C. Bird Sr spent 7 years as the country’s Chief Minister; 9 years as its Premier; and 12 years as the Prime Minister of the country.
Sir V.C.’s son, Sir Lester Bird, spent 10 years as Prime Minister.
“That is Sean Bird’s problem. That is Vere Bird III’s problem. They cannot accept the fact that the Bird’s are no longer running this country… and they want power at all costs,” said Browne.
Since Browne assumed the reigns of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) back on November 25, 2002, he has systematically made several distinct shifts in the construct of the party. One of the first noticeable shifts was in the changing of the name from ALP to the ABLP (Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party).
According to Bird, there was another marked shift that has indicated a departure of the party’s allegiance to the Bird family.
“What happened,” Bird explained, “was that [ZDK Radio] was no longer seen as the 18th candidate. There is now a new radio station that’s operating within the confines of the Labour Party.”
Another indication of the party’s shift from what the party’s norms have been is planned move of its headquarters from the famed 46 North Street address to its soon-to-be-opened location on Old Parham Road and Nugent Avenue.
“Whereas, ZDK was really linked to the hip of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party,” Bird said that, “there was a clear de-linking and demarcation,” by ABLP leader Browne from the lineage of the Bird family and the Bird family radio station.