Cayman Islands National Heroes and Symbols

Our Nation Builders

The Cayman Islands has produced ‘Nation Builders’ who have evolved over the years as we have grown from a tiny remote village to the diverse cosmopolitan ‘melting pot’ that we are today.

The Hon. James (Jim) Manoah Bodden


Our first National Hero, the Hon. James (Jim) Manoah Bodden, was given this honour on 28th 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 modernisation. 

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Mrs. Sybil Ione McLaughlin, MBE, JP 


Our second national hero is Mrs. Sybil Ione McLaughlin, MBE, JP, who continues to be an active member of society and a living example of the noble qualities towards which Caymanians, especially our young women, can aspire.

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Mr. Thomas William Farrington, CBE, JP 


Named as a “Former Legislator and Father of the House”, Mr. Thomas William Farrington, CBE, JP (1900 to 1978) was a great contributor to the Cayman Islands community. Born in June 1900 to William Farrington and Elizabeth M. Parsons, he became one of Cayman’s most outstanding citizens.

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Mrs. Sybil Joyce Hylton, MBE


Remembered for “An outstanding commitment to youth”, Mrs. Sybil Joyce Hylton, MBE (1913 to 2006), the daughter of Edward and Jane Russell and wife of Wilfred Augustus “Conrad” Hylton, was Cayman’s first probation and welfare officer and a lifelong advocate for disadvantaged young people.

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Mr. Ormond L. Panton, OBE


“A very special son of Cayman”, Mr. Ormond L. Panton, OBE (1920 to 1992) was one of the most prominent political figures in Cayman’s history.

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Mr. Desmond Vere Watler, CBE


“His life stands as a sterling example” is the tribute paid to Mr. Desmond Vere Watler, CBE (1914 to 1994) – an exemplary citizen and exceptional civil servant.

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Ms. Mary Evelyn Wood, Cert. Hon.


“Dedication and selfless service” is how Ms Mary Evelyn Wood, Cert. Hon. (1900 to 1978) is remembered. A true pioneer, Mary Evelyn Wood dedicated her life to bringing change to these Islands, for the benefit of the Caymanian people.

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Mr. William Warren Conolly, OBE

A man with vision and drive, William Warren Conolly, OBE, JP was a major player in Cayman’s political, economic and social landscape. He grew up a devoted scholar qualifying for entrance to college overseas. However a lack of funds thwarted his dream of obtaining a higher education. Learn More

Dr. Roy Edison McTaggart

“One of the founding fathers of our nation”, Dr. Roy Edison McTaggart was named as a national hero in 2016.

Born in 1893, Roy was a pioneering politician, businessman, dentist, cultural guardian and philanthropist.

Yet he is perhaps best remembered as the man instrumental in ensuring the Cayman Islands remained a British Crown Colony when Jamaica became independent in 1962.

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Our Symbols

National Bird – Cayman Parrot

The Grand Cayman parrot is iridescent green with a white eye ring, red cheeks, black ear patches and brilliant blue wing feathers. The Grand Cayman parrot inhabits the main island while the smaller, quieter Cayman Brac parrot occupies the sister island. The Cayman Islands’ parrots are two subspecies of the Cuban parrot and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.  


National Flower – Wild Banana Orchid

The wild banana orchid is the best known of Cayman’s 26 species of orchids. There are two varieties, both of which carry scented flowers with white or pale, yellow petals and purple lips.


National Tree – Silver Thatch Palm

The tall, slender silver thatch palm was an important natural resource for early settler who used the leaves to make rope, brooms, and roofs. Up until the early 1960s, the silver thatch palm played an important role in the Cayman Islands, its tough leaves often used for roofing and weaving hats, baskets and fans. In earlier years, straw rope made from the thatch palm was highly prized in Cuba and Jamaica for use in shipping, fishing and sugar industries. Exporting rope was Cayman’s largest source of revenue.


National Flag

The Cayman Islands flag, the official ensign, was adopted in 1959. Shortly after, the coat of arms was adopted. There are two versions of the flag—the blue for use on land and the red for use at sea. These are based on the British blue and red signs.

National Song – “Beloved Island Cayman”

“Beloved Isle Cayman” was written by the late Mrs. Leila Ross Shier in 1930. Regarded as the unofficial national song for many years, it became the official national song when the Cayman Islands Coat of Arms, Flag and National Song Law was passed in 1993. 


Coat of Arms

The Cayman Islands coat of arms consists of a shield, a crested help and the national motto. The three green stars set within the shield represent the Islands. The stars rest on blue and white wavy bands representing the sea. The gold lion against the red background represents Great Britain. Above the shield are a green turtle, a rope, and a pineapple. The turtle represents Cayman’s maritime heritage, the rope its traditional thatch-rope industry, and the pineapple its ties with Jamaica. The national motto printed at the bottom of the shield is a verse from Psalms 24 and acknowledges the Cayman Islands’ Christian heritage.

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