It’s near about impossible to venture into St. John’s, the vibrant capital of Antigua and Barbuda, without seeing the V. C. Bird Monument. The imposing statue literally sits in the middle of the intersection where all roads leading to/from the island’s Public Market meet. This is not by accident, of course. After all, The Right Honourable Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, Sr. is Antigua’s preeminent national hero.
Born in St. John’s in 1910, Bird grew up poor without the benefit of a formal education. The guy never made it past primary school, which makes the fact that he became the very first Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda all the more remarkable.
And this was after he had already formed the Antigua Labour Party, served as the country’s first and only Chief Minister, and its first and last Premier.
Indeed, just like the statue, which measures 20 feet high, Bird’s legacy looms large over everything in Antigua.
(Incidentally, Bird himself was seven feet tall, so he pretty much always loomed large.)
The statue, designed and sculpted by Cuban artist Andres Gonzalez, was installed in 2002 cementing Bird’s legacy as the Father of the Nation three years after his death. Like the man, or any politician for that matter, the statue is not without its detractors and controversies.
Still, it’s impossible to ignore the tremendous impact that V. C. Bird had on shepherding Antigua and Barbuda from British colony to modern, independent country… even if you might want to ignore his statue.
It’s definitely a little different seeing a monument like this sporting such bright colors, right? I don’t know; personally, I kinda’ like it.
What do you think…?