Bird Convicted


According to information reaching, the incident occurred on Labour Day (4th May) when the Antigua Labour Party’s (ALP) Bird, two other ALP parliamentarians and four other members of the opposition party defying orders of the AT&LU and police

The ALP seven, as they were called throughout the trial, were fined EC$1,000 (US$370), payable by tomorrow, for speaking on the platform of the Antigua Trades and Labour Union (AT&LU) rally on May 4th, 2009.

Bird, his brother Vere Bird Jr, parliamentarians Molwyn Joseph and Gaston Browne, along with other ALP members Sharon Kentish, Mary Claire Hurst and Jim Galloway will be jailed for nine months if they fail to pay their fines.

Defence attorney Steadroy ‘Cutie’ Benjamin, however, made it clear shortly after the ruling that an appeal will be filed.

Already, he has indicated that one of the grounds for the appeal will be that his clients should not have been tried in a magistrate’s court since freedom of speech and expression is a constitutional issue.

Although the ALP and AT&LU are aligned, the former being born out of the latter, the union had made it clear prior to its Labour Day rally that it would not have any political speakers on its platform that year.

Two days prior to the rally, then acting Commissioner of Police Thomas Bennett met with representatives from the union and the ALP to discuss the party’s request to add additional speakers to the union’s approved list. However, when the AT&LU did not agree to amend its list as proposed by the ALP, the police turned down the party’s application.

However, the seven went on stage and addressed the crowd, defying the union and the police.

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