“M’Lud… what is the role of an Army Officer?”
Allan then read from a Military Document the definition of an Army Officer.
“An Army Officer is one who manages violence.”
There was a long pause in the Court as the members of the Court Martial
waited nervously as to what Senior Counsel Allan Alexander would then say.
When it seemed that the wait would be endless, Allan said, “My client
Lieutenant Lassalle is excellent at managing violence.”
These were the opening remarks of Allan at the Commonwealth Court
Martial at the Port of Spain town hall in October 1970.
Here was Senior Counsel Allan Alexander aligning himself with the visions
and raison d’être of the mutiny at the Teteron Barracks on April 21st 1970.
“Mih Lud,” with that Trini twist to it, was Allan addressing Judge Advocate
Mills-Odoi’s Colonial aping, and also addressing those uptight third-world
army officers, all still holding grimly to their Colonial strings, as that was
where they sought approval.
Then his barrister’s wig was tilted, like a sailor’s cap, yet here he was carrying
all the dignity and gravitas of a master barrister. The wig and its hallowed,
upright position in the Colonial mind-set of success, was in no way how Allan
wore it. The tilt of that wig on his head was a clear statement: “This is not
part of my identity”. It was also a clear statement of a Caribbean man, with
that provocative rebelliousness in the way it sat on his head.
Allan was a lawyer who knew all his rules and regulations and the protocols of
the courtroom. He had done his homework, and was a doyen at what he did,
and now on the Colonial stage of this Court Martial he played his Mas with
elegance, with honour, offering to all of us the inspiration and guidance that
we can master the ways of the Colonial mindset and transform it into our own
way of being: a Caribbean people.
He had accomplished the transformation that Frantz Fanon pointed to in his
writings from the Colonial clone, which he had kicked into the bin of history,
to being his own Caribbean man.
He was saying it loud and clear: “Look Mih, ah here, Mih Lud”
R.I.P Allan, you showed a glorious path for us all to emulate.