Caribbean Report 11-03-1991


Seven senior members of the ruling Antigua Labour Party has written to 81 year old Prime Minister, Dr. Vere Bird, Snr. to resign from politics before 14th March, 1991. This report seeks to find out how firm is the seven Ministers and their resolve to see the Prime Minister go and how likely will CARICOM’s longest serving leader give up without a fight. This development is shaping up as the most critical week in the modern history of Antigua’s politics. The government under the leadership of Dr. Bird Snr. is in a midst of a constitutional crisis highlighted by his inability to present last week’s budget in a legally and procedurally required manner. Several political figures in Antigua provide their insights into the political crisis facing the country.


Table of Contents

1. Headlines (00:00 – 00:48)
2. Leslie Garth reports on the details of the letter which was written by seven government Ministers asking for Dr. Vere Bird Sr. to resign before this Thursday’s budget. The seven ministers include Lester Bird who is the Deputy Prime Minister and son of Vere Bird Snr., John St. Louis, Hugh Marshall, Eustace Cochrane, Robin Yearwood, Henderson Simon and Joseph Myers. They argue that Dr. Bird Snr. should resign due to his poor leadership and the demands of the position which has affected him physically. Also they believe that the failure of his government, which has stumbled from one crisis to another over the past years, is due to his leadership which was not correct and decisive. They can no longer ignore the cries of the nation for a change in leadership and are now asking him to retire before the proposed budget. They have however offered him a senior cabinet rank and all benefits should he accede to their request. (00:49 – 03:13)
3. Hugh Crosskill conducts a telephone interviews with Mr. Tim Hector, Newspaper Publisher and Leader of the Antigua Caribbean Movement, Dr. Ivor Heath, Opposition Leader, United Democratic Party and Mr. Brian Gonzales of the Private Sector Organization to get their views on the current political crisis. Tim Hector believes that the nation will have to intervene so that the government can be restructured and be free from corruption. Dr. Ivor Heath believes that Dr. V.C. Bird Snr. is a very consummate leader who never backs down but he is not going to win this challenge. He speaks about the constitutional issues that could take place if Dr. Bird Snr. resigns. Brian Gonzales believes that there is a serious problem that needs to be resolved as soon as possible (03:14 - 15:07)