Answering complaints about waterfront development

The new building on North Church Street will have restrooms and a tour ticket sales location. – PHOTO: TANEOS RAMSAY

Norberg Kelvin Thompson Sr. was born in George Town, Grand Cayman, to Capt. and Mrs. Eugene Thompson on March 28, 1925, and grew up in this same district. He was united in marriage to Mary Virginia Merren, who was born in George Town on Nov. 16, 1931, to George and Rose (Arch) Merren whose families were also developers of the Cayman Islands.

Norberg was a seaman for many years but decided he wanted to spend the rest of his life in the country where he was born and raised. In 1954, he built Wholesome Bakery which is now where the commercial Waterfront Centre building is located. This property was given to him by his father, so, it has been in the hands of the same family for almost a century.

As soon as Norberg became successful as a businessman with Wholesome Bakery, he went into other projects such as building many apartments to house both tourists and expats who would need accommodations. In addition to being one of the founders of Cayman National Bank and WestStar TV, which brought television to Cayman, he also developed two shopping centers, several office buildings, redeveloped the Clarion Grand Pavilion hotel (which later became Grand Pavilion Commercial Centre) and developed the Wyndham Reef Resort. Norberg and I were joint owners of all our properties and once my husband passed away, I became the sole proprietor.

While we welcome expatriates from all countries to Cayman (some of which have become what we call “paper Caymanians”) and have lived very peacefully together, there are some who have come to conclude they have priority over born Caymanians.

Mr. Chris Johnson is making a disturbance because of a building that we are legally erecting on our long held property, which when completed, will be another benefit to tourism.

While my husband and I are born Caymanians and are some of the largest Caymanian developers, it appears that Mr. Johnson is not satisfied by the decision granted by a board comprised of Caymanians (the Cayman Islands Central Planning Authority), and now seeks to have priority and impose his will over born Caymanians, who have done much to develop our country which has afforded many expats like him the opportunity to gain work and the right to live here in Cayman today.

We welcome everyone with open arms, but we expect due respect when Caymanians choose to legally develop their own land in their country. Thanking all expats who have contributed to this country, but please bear in mind that we Caymanians are the reason why you are here among us enjoying our lifestyle and the friendliness of our people and we would kindly ask that you respect us, too.

Mary Thompson


  1. I think that the words of Mrs Thompson sounds to be very privileged that because she is one of the Islands “CAYMANIAN ” developer that laws should not apply to her , but thinks that other citizens should not object to what she wants to do , or what decision THE CAYMANIAN planning board makes should not be questioned or objected to .

  2. I feel I should respond to the letter of Mrs Thompson , the mother of the developer, Kel Thompson.
    Mrs Thompson with all due respect some of us foreigners have contributed to the wellbeing of the Cayman Islands sine we arrived. In my case it was 1968. I will not elaborate on my own contributions and for your edification I do not use Wetern Union.
    I have the greatest respect for your late husband and his contributions but might add where would Cayman be without the early Financial Centre pioneers the very bread , excuse the pun, and butter of the island.
    The difference in philosophy between the views of your son and I , is that my son and I have try to make my land more picturesque for the larger open beach to be used by all for no charge whilst Mr Thompson is fencing his two beaches off and denying access unless payment is made.
    Your son has dumped dirt on my property having dug up the road last year. He has dumped marl on the beach and has dug a huge hole for passers by to fall into. He contravened all set back regulations against the objects of the DOE., a body manned by Caymanians, as you would have heard on the excellent programme on Cayman 27 last night.
    Finally with the septic tank proposed to be almodt next door the fish market will you continue to buy fish there.

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