A local stalwart of the legal fraternity, an acute mind on parliamentary processes and principles, and a dedicated and affectionate husband, father and family man was how Ezra Ederson Alleyne was remembered before he was laid to rest on Monday.
During a moving ceremony held in the chapel of the Coral Ridge Memorial Gardens, family members and close colleagues paid tribute to the man many saw as being integral to Barbados’ development in the legal and parliamentary spaces during the post-Independence era.
While paying his respects to his legal colleague and friend for many decades, former Chief Justice Sir David Simmons stressed that though Alleyne undoubtedly possessed an astute legal mind and was always ready for a debate, it was his wit and sense of humour that made him memorable in and out of the courtroom.
“His passing has evoked a plethora of tributes that has spoken eloquently of the service he rendered to the law and journalism. The Prime Minister and others have rightly emphasised Ezra’s piercing and keen intellect which was on display in his newspaper column every Sunday. He had a bias towards English parliamentary practice and politics, so that his writings were frequently interlaced with and buttressed by relevant examples from the UK.
“He had that gift of an exquisite turn of phrase with a certain degree of mischievousness sometimes to embellish an article. As he would say, he was only adding pigtails to the soup.”
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who was among those in attendance at the thanksgiving service, said there were now many individuals and organisations around the country that were now poorer in many ways because of the loss of a man who had many roles during his lifetime.
“The Parliament of Barbados is the poorer. I can think of very few people in this country or indeed in the Eastern or Southern Caribbean who had Ezra’s knowledge with respect to parliamentary history but also parliamentary procedure. The courts of Barbados will also be poorer, for regardless of who he was representing he was never afraid to enter the halls of justice to pursue what he believed to be the case for his client.
“Of course, the Barbados Labour Party would be poorer because all of us at any time could always call on Ezra to be able to share a perspective, to remember a circumstance, a fact, a story, and for that we remain eternally grateful,” the Prime Minister said.
She added: “If all of those entities that I just referred to are poorer, then by extension the country of Barbados is poorer for his absence. That he should have served it with distinction from so many different vantage points for 50 years and more is something that should stand as an example, not just to his children but to all Barbadians, that irrespective of where you stand once you apply your heart and your mind and the discipline of your body to what you set out, you can achieve greatness in this world.”
Gayle Alleyne, the late attorney’s eldest daughter, said there were many aspects of her father’s life she could look back on, from the humorous banter in which he engaged with his children, to his brilliant mind, to his endearing loving nature, and noted that his “incredible life” had not gone unrecognised.
“There was a lot to this guy…. Though he was brainy he was never a nerd. So our verdict is that Ezra Alleyne lived an incredible life. He was not perfect, he made mistakes and he had his regrets, but who does not? Dad, I think in its heart this country knows the value of your enormous national contribution, but thank God you have never needed an honour or title to be all that I ever needed you to be. Just Dad,” she said.
She thanked well-wishers for the outpouring of support given to the family since her father’s passing on July 10.
“This is a loss that hurts in a way some of us never hurt before, but we can’t go back, we can’t change it, we can’t go around it. So we are going to be practical and do what Dad would tell us to do…. We are going to bore a hole right through this colossal pain, and we will prevail on the other side in Jesus’ name, Amen.”