Vere Cornwall Bird, the first prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, was born in St John’s in 1910. He became prime minister in 1981 and held that position until 1994. During that time, Bird took the twin-island nation from a British colony to an independent nation.
Bird is seen by many as the father of the nation, and homages to him can be found all over the island of Antigua (the international airport for example was renamed in his honor). However, none are as bright or have such a prominent placement as the VC Bird Monument.
This brightly colored bust of VC Bird occupies a prime position in downtown St John’s next to the public market. The monument, designed and sculpted by the Cuban artist, Andres Gonzalez, was installed in 2002, just three years after Bird’s death. The statue stands 10 meters (33 feet) tall, and depicts a besuited middle-aged Bird (who himself was 2.1 meters or seven feet tall) with his hand on his chest. Next to him is a black pineapple, a type of fruit that is said to be a delicacy and unique to the island.
Getting a close up of the monument is a challenge: its situated in a small triangular at the intersection of two busy roads. Sadly the plaza is closed to the public, but it is possible to get a good look through the railings.