Hon. James (Jim) Manoah Bodden
National Hero of Cayman Islands
The Hon. James (Jim) Manoah Bodden, was given the honour as the first National Hero of the Cayman Islands on 28 June 1994. Though Mr. Jim, as he was known to the community, passed away in 1988, he was regarded by his contemporaries as a visionary who helped to politically lead Cayman into an era of progress through modernization.
Early life and education
Mr. Jim Bodden, as called by his Caymanian people, was born on 5 October 1930 in Lower Valley, Bodden Town. His father was a seaman.
When he was seventeen years old he migrated to live in Texas. He settled ashore and married to an American becoming a US citizen, during the next 12 years he worked as a privatedetective; he sold costume jewelleries and also owned a taxi cab company.
In the 1960s he returned to the Cayman Islands with his plan to start a hotel business but his plan failed. He went back to work at sea and then returned home again and became involved in a charter boat business, he also started a Real Estate Company.Mr. Jim also donated land in Newlands to build the campus for the International College of the Cayman Island.
Mr. Jim was elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1972, winning a seat for Bodden Town; and served two terms as a member of Executive Council. As minister responsible for tourism and aviation, he was instrumental in establishing Cayman Airways and constructing Owens Roberts International Airport. He was re-elected to the Legislature in 1984 and served as a backbench MLA for the rest of his life.
Death and legacy
Much loved by all Caymanians, Mr. Jim received the honour of a state funeral. In a moving ceremony in September 1994 a statue bearing his likeness was dedicated to him at Hero’s Circle, now known as Heroes Square, across from the Legislative Assembly.