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Today, it is with a sense of sadness that I extend from the Government and people of Barbados to the Government and people of Antigua & Barbuda, heartfelt condolence on the passing of Sir Lester Bird.

Sir Lester, Prime Minister of Antigua & Barbuda from 1994 until 2004, but whose active political career dated back to 1971, carried a name that was as recognised across the Caribbean as it was in his native land — for he was a prominent member of the Bird family that dominated politics there for almost half a century.

His passing this morning, no doubt, will leave a significant void on the political landscape of that nation and the Antigua Labour Party, the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, of which he was its first chairman, and the wider CARICOM region, which he also served with honour.

Antigua & Barbuda has lost another of its political stalwarts, and we in Barbados grieve with you — as a family should.

May his contribution to this region and its people never be forgotten and may his soul rest in peace.

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