To see related acronyms about this country, please check ABBREVIATIONFINDER where you can see that ATG stands for Antigua and Barbuda.
The ALP won the election in April 1960 and Bird became prime minister. In 1966, a new constitution granted self-government with a government elected by the residents of Antigua and Barbuda. Britain was left to the defense and foreign policy. At the 1967 election, Bird won again.
Opposition leader George Walter in 1979 accused the government of violating human rights. As an example, he mentioned the repression of a teacher strike. He warned at the same time that the situation could deteriorate with independence.
On November 1, 1981, Antigua and Barbuda became an “independent, democratic unified state” and joined the UN and CARICOM. At the same time, the independence gave the country the right to borrow from the IMF and the World Bank. At the end of the year, external debt reached half of the gross domestic product.
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Bird’s foreign policy was based on a close alliance with the United States, which annually pays the country a substantial fee for the use of a substantial area for military bases. The alliance was confirmed in 1983 when Antigua defended the US invasion of neighboring Grenada. In April 1984, Bird decided to accelerate the parliamentary elections one year. Despite the opposition’s accusations of corruption, Bird was re-elected and the main reason was apparently his support for the military intervention in Grenada.
In 1987, the entire opposition demanded the Prime Minister’s resignation and accused him of scamming funds for modernizing St. John’s airport. But only in 1994 did Vere Bird retire from public life, handing over the leadership of the ALP to his son, Lester. In the March elections, the ALP lost four seats but retained its absolute majority in parliament with 11 out of 17 seats.