ST JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC):
Former prime minister Sir Lester Bird is recovering at the hospital after having his lower leg amputated on Tuesday, the state-owned ABS Radio and Television has reported.
It said that Sir Lester, a national hero, had the surgery following the recommendation of his doctor after he had been hospitalised earlier this month with a toe infection.
“His family said he was in good spirits going into surgery and are praying for a swift recovery. His family appreciates the outpouring of support and best wishes for Sir Lester,” ABS said on its website.
Sir Lester, 83, served as the island’s second prime minister from 1994 to 2004. His father was Antigua and Barbuda’s first prime minister and the lawyer in 1971 became the chairman of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP), which had been formed by his father in 1946.
In March 2004, the ALP was defeated by the United Progressive Party, with Bird losing his seat, which he regained in 2009.
Bird successfully retained his seat for the Gaston Browne-led Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party in the June 2014 election and was appointed to the Cabinet as senior minister. He did not contest the last general election that Browne won handsomely.
On November 3, 2014, Bird was named Knight of the Most Exalted Order of National Hero, Antigua & Barbuda’s highest honour, for his contribution to national development as an outstanding sportsman, lawyer and parliamentarian for 38 years.