Opposition leader gives up salary

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua: Antigua Labour Party (ALP) leader Lester Bird has announced he will sacrifice his salary as Opposition Leader and take a pension instead.

Bird, who returned to parliament after the March 12 general elections – having lost his seat in 2004 – said he had written to the country’s Accountant General foregoing his salary, as an example of what should be done in the country’s best interest.

“In these difficult times – when the government has not paid many public servants on time, while laying off many others – I believe it is right that all political leaders make a sacrifice. In the circumstances, I am foregoing my salary as Leader of the Opposition.

“I intend to live on the pension I have been receiving over the last five years,” Bird said. “If my salary can go towards feeding a family and sending children to school, I am content.”

After winning a seat in elections held earlier this year, Bird had to give up the pension he was earning as a government MP and former prime minister.

“I have no doubt that this gesture will be attacked by my detractors in the United Progressive Party government, who have made no sacrifice at all,” said Bird. “Following their usual pattern, they will undoubtedly claim that I can live on corruption of the past.”

Bird did not state for how long he would forego his salary.

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