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Debate over Sir Viv’s remarks

by caribdirect
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Leader of the Antigua Labour Party (ALP) Lester Bird is among scores of Antiguans and Barbudans reacting to a recent statement by cricket icon Sir Vivian Richards in which he blasted political parties for the level of divisiveness in the country.

Speaking at his 60th birthday celebrations last Thursday, the island’s only living national hero called on political parties to “stop bickering and start deciding what’s in the best interest of Antigua & Barbuda.

“We have been seriously divided in this country. This is of vital importance and I don’t give a damn what you think of me after because I know what I am saying is God damn true,” Sir Viv said.

However in reaction, ALP leader Bird said in a “manner of speaking” Sir Viv was correct because “as a national icon I suspect that he would want to see his country operating at a level where we would not be in fact fighting each other.”

But the opposition leader hastened to add that the system of government in Antigua & Barbuda gives the opposition the right to raise questions about concerns it deems legitimate.

“So my hope is that Sir Viv understands that in our Westminster system it is the role of the opposition to deal with matters which they have a problem with,” Bird said.

The ALP leader also pointed a finger at his political opponent, Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer, charging that Spencer and not the ALP has created the atmosphere of division in the county.

“It is the prime minister who has led this feeling of division in the country and it is encapsulated and highlighted by his statement that you have sheep and goats,” Bird said.

Meanwhile, Leon “Chaku” Symister, a former chairman of the United Progressive Party, has described the remarks by Sir Viv as “appropriate and timely.”

“I think that in it you are hearing is nationalism that you scarcely hear expressed around here,” Symister said on The Big Stories radio programme.

The debate over Sir Viv’s remarks is continuing on the streets, on the blogs and local talk shows.

(Source http://www.antiguaobserver.com/?p=72365)



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