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William Warren Conolly
(5 December 1920 - 22 October 2008)
William Warren Conolly, OBE, JP
National Hero of Cayman Islands

A man with vision and drive, William Warren Conolly, OBE, JP was a major player in Cayman’s political, economic and social landscape, and on National Heroes Day 2012 he was named a National Hero.

Early life and education

He was born in East End on 5 December 1920. The son of Austin and Adrienne Conolly 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. Instead, following in his father’s footsteps, he entered government service in 1944 as an elected member from East End, starting an illustrious public service career spanning three decades.


World War II put a temporary stop to this new vocation as Mr. Conolly sailed with the American Merchant Marine for three years. Upon his return in 1948, he re-established the family general merchandise store. However, the call to public service remained strong and in 1952, he re-entered politics as one of the elected members for the Legislative Assembly of Justices and Vestrymen.

In 1958 he founded the Cayman Vanguard Party, which dissolved not long after. A year later, under the new 1959 Constitution, he was appointed by Jamaican Governor Sir Kenneth Blackburne as one of the nominated members of the Legislative Assembly. In 1962, Mr. Conolly tried his hand at party politics again, becoming a founding member and deputy-president of the National Democratic Party. A decade later, Mr. Conolly became one of the first members of the Executive Council.

He was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Branch of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, and in 1965 he became the first Caymanian politician to have the distinct privilege of attending a course on Parliamentary Procedure and Practice at the House of Commons in London. He developed a keen understanding of the Standing Orders and the Constitution and was regarded as an expert on the Cayman Islands Constitution.

During his time in government Mr. Conolly set in motion some of the country’s key legislation, including the Companies, Bank & Trust Companies, Land Adjudication and Registered Land laws.

He was instrumental in creating the Department of Tourism and the crucial Mosquito Control and Natural Resources Department. He also spearheaded the official introduction of Cayman Islands currency in May 1972 and oversaw the completion of the Legislative Assembly building, the Port Authority finger pier and warehouse, the old Government Administration Building and the Courts Building.

After retirement from Government service in 1976, Mr. Conolly re-established his legal practice as a sole practitioner until 1983 when he was joined by his step-son David Ritch. They founded Ritch & Conolly from which he retired in 1997.

He also played an active role in the community: He shared in the founding of the Cayman Islands Law Society in 1967, serving on its council for two terms; he was a founding member and served on the Board of the Caribbean Utilities Company for over 34 years, retiring as Director Emeritus in 2000; and he was a founding member of the Cayman Islands Chamber of Commerce.

Even as he was always looking ahead, Mr. Conolly was a strong advocate for controlled development – his political motto was Hasten slowly. His entire political career, like those of his peers, was voluntary with little or no remuneration. His selfless contribution to the development of his home country was acknowledged in 1974 when he received the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Other acknowledgements include a 1995 Silver Thatch Award for his contribution to tourism development in the Islands.

Personal life

He was married to Islay Conolly, MBE, for 50 years. They had three children: David Ritch, OBE, Burns Conolly, and Jacqueline Conolly-Smellie.


Mr. Connolly, passed away on 22 October 2008 at the age of 87.

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William Warren Conolly
Occupation Politician
Date of Birth 5 December 1920
Place of Birth East End, Cayman Islands
Date of Death 22 October 2008 (aged 87)
Notable Accomplishments
National Hero of Cayman Islands
Cayman Islands
National Heroes of the Cayman Islands

 National Heroes
 Caribbean Leaders
 Women in Caribbean Politics
 Caribbean Nobel Laureates
 Order of the Caribbean Community Recipients
 In Memoriam
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