Former Prime Minister goes on trial

Former Antiguan Prime Minister Lester Bird

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua, CMC – Former prime minister Lester Bird and six members of the main opposition Antigua Labour Party (ALP) have gone on trial on charges of violating the Public Order Act.

Chief Magistrate Ivan Walters is hearing the matter after denying an application to dismiss the charges and discharge those accused.

Apart from Bird, who served as prime minister from 1994 to 2004, the other accused persons are deputy ALP leader Gaston Browne, the party’s general secretary Mary Claire Hurst; Molwyn Joseph, Vere Bird Jr.; the head of the ALP Youth Arm, Sharon Kentish and Jim Galloway.

They have all pleaded not guilty for violating the act that the police said occurred when they addressed a public meeting on May 4 last year, for which permission was not granted.

The seven are alleged to have spoken at an Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) rally without the necessary permission from the Commissioner of Police, Thomas Bennett.

The AT&LU, the parent organisation of the ALP and the main organiser of the traditional Labour Day rally, said it had presented its list of speakers to the authorities and had refused to amend the list to include the speakers put forward by the ALP.

The Chief Magistrate said that under Section 5 of the Public Order Act, individuals must first obtain permission from the police to address any public gathering except for trade unions.

He ruled that there is no evidence that the seven accused were members of the executive of any trade union.

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  1. Lester boy, I wish that the Ivan Walters who is sitting over you hearing this matter, is not the son of George H. Walters, or one of his brother’s children!

    No need to remind you of what you, your late father, and brothers did to George in the 1970’s.

    Remember when Sir Loochoo of Guyana was brought in to prosecute Walters, after he reviewed the case, and informed your late father that the government of Antigua had no case against Mr. Walters, but if the Government of Antigua insist on precutting him he could successfully prosecute him, thus resulting in George been sent to jail?

    That case was the Loochoo’s brothers final case, they went back to Guyana, and retired, ” stop practicing law.”

    I suppose their conscience would not allow them to continue, perhaps just knowing an innocent man was sitting in jail in Antigua based on the skilful way in which they perform their maneuvers resulting in a guilty verdict.

  2. Wait A Minute
    February 5, 2010

    So when are the members of the MRD going to be tried for treason against the state? I mean these guys just participated in an illegal parliament (with Speaker and all) contrary to the constitution and laws of the land. Isn’t that more of a serious crime than that which Bird and crew are being tried for?

  3. isdat
    February 5, 2010

    And loose?????? or lose??? humph say sah mem

  4. Zarzee
    February 5, 2010

    I Hope ure not talking bout our beloved prime minister Mr Roosvelt Skerrit.If u are u better take a break from the crack pipe.

    February 5, 2010

    Another PM in another country will face the courts and loose. I wonder where and who? Your guess is as good as mine!

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