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SNAPSHOT OF ALLAN ALEXANDER By Rex Lasalle

posted 5 Oct 2016, 18:14 by Gerry Kangalee   [ updated 5 Oct 2016, 18:18 ]

Rex Lasalle was one of the leaders, with Raffique Shah, of the army mutiny in April 1970 , when the soldiers refused to crush the 1970 insurrection. The soldiers were court martialled, but won their appeal, having seved 27 months in prison.
“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!

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