I am responding to the letter Mary Thompson wrote in your newspaper on June 21. I must say first of all I was both shocked and very disappointed after reading it.
I have known Mary most of my life and of course her late husband Norberg. I also know one of her sons, Kel. The family is very close to my surviving sister.
I will start off in the same vein that Mary wrote (not that it had anything to do with the dispute regarding the waterfront property).
My father was the late Major Joseph Rodriguez (Roddy) Watler, Chief Inspector of Police and Captain of the Home Guard (amongst other positions he held). My mother was Blanche Bodden. I am related to the very first Caymanians. I am, therefore, 100 percent true born Caymanian with no “paper” to my title.
I will not bother to write all my father’s achievements as it would take too long except to say he is the Cayman Islands’ most decorated Caymanian.
Mary states Norberg was one of the founders of WestStarTV “which brought television to Cayman”. It was CITN – Cayman International Television (Caribbean) Network that brought television to the Cayman Islands. CITN was in competition with Desmond Seales’s CITV long before CITN engaged WestStar to manage the business for them. And a year after Norberg being a shareholder in WestStar, he departed. It was my husband, Colin, and myself that were the pioneers of television along with Desmond [Seales]. And it was my money that started CITN. It was Colin that founded WestStar after we had both sat down with Norberg and Kel to see if they were interested, but they were emphatic with us they were not.
I duly recognize Norberg’s achievements and you have a right, Mary, to be proud of him.
However, none of this has anything to do with the eyesore that your son, Kel, has erected on the waterfront. It is an abomination and I have told Kel so to his face.
The Central Planning Authority (“comprised of Caymanians”) for reasons I can only conjecture, defied the strong objections to your son’s development from the Department of Environment on sound grounds and comprised of Caymanians.
It is disturbing to me that expats/“paper Caymanians” (your words) should want to beautify the waterfront whilst your Caymanian son wants to put a blot on the landscape!
Your disgraceful rhetoric at Chris Johnson, who has been here just as long as your son has, and the slur you have placed regarding his status and suggesting Caymanians can do whatever they like because we are Caymanians is totally out of order. If it wasn’t for the expats and paper Caymanians your family would not be the successful and rich one it is. They are the ones who provided you with most of your wealth by using your businesses.
As a child I spent many, many, hours swimming in the area your son is now desecrating. The building is now obstructing the beautiful view the tourists have had over the years and us Caymanians have enjoyed for centuries!
“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 that goes both ways – not one. And, again, what has that got to do with your son’s building that does not as you say “will be another benefit to tourism”. It is the opposite and the only reason I can see why your son wants it there is to make money for himself and his family.
Chris Johnson and his son are trying to beautify the waterfront and not to make money from it. Your son is doing the opposite and I will not be silent on this.
I am very, very disappointed in your letter as it gives us Caymanians a bad name. I can assure everyone out there the majority of Caymanians do not share Mary’s views that we can do anything we like because we are Caymanians!