Speaking truth to power

You can call her ‘ Mary, Mary quite contrary,’ because she is a contrarian; a non-conformist. She has strong sentiments about right and wrong and the way things ought to be, and she speaks up.

You can call her our eyes and ears; our unofficial ombudsman. Hers is a righteous crusade against malfeasance and ‘ badmindedness and advantage.’ The tools of her craft are her camera and her laptop, and misbehaviour is not safe whenever she is around. In other words, she is an equal-opportunity candid camera and commentator. Be it friend or foe, family or no, UPP or ABLP, she calls it as she sees it, with nary a thought as to whom it might offend. You can call her our national conscience; ‘ the voice crying in the wilderness;’ the one who is not afraid to say that which needs to be said. Her name is Mary John.

And she is not merely tilting at windmills; she is not a modern-day Don Quixote, fighting against imaginary giants and problems that do not exist. Nay, Mary is calling us out on issues that are very real. She is casting a spotlight on critical situations, and ought to be applauded for her courage to confront all and sundry.

She gives a voice to the voiceless and steps on toes in the process. Actually, she does not delicately ‘ step on toes’ with euphemisms and ambiguities. No, she gets straight to the point. If she sees cow dung in a place where it ought not to be, she will not say “Isaw bovine scatology on the corner of High Street.” Nooooo! She will unabashedly say, “I saw bull shit on the corner of High Street this morning!”

If she senses that the powers that be are not taking her legitimate concerns seriously, she will say that “Dem-a cut style.” If she suspects hanky-panky, she will shine a light and tell the world that “Somebody is living foul.”

If she spots an unfortunate situation at, say, Popeshead Street, she will take photos and post her observations and make phone calls to alert the relevant authorities. Sadly, too often, nothing is done or the response is a feckless, half-measure.

Mary makes quite an effective use of dialect in her many postings and the use of dialect reflects Mary, the woman. She ‘ keeps it real;’ no phony airs and pretensions. She is a friend of the friendless and an advocate for the poor and down-trodden.

She speaks up for those whom society has maligned or forgotten. She is our spiritual compass of sorts, deeply concerned about the decay in the moral fabric of Antiguan society. Plus, she is keenly nativist in her sensibilities and is fearful that our uniquely Antiguan way of life is being lost to irresponsible and short-sighted policies.

More in today’s Daily Observer.