May is a great time for family
bonding. With Mother’s Day yesterday and children being honoured all month long
the time to recognise special families is now.
Peter “Gucchi” Bodden and his
daughter Jamaica are a family unit worthy of note. Gucchi is responsible for Jamaica most
days due to a one-sided custody situation involving his ex-wife.
Mr. Bodden, 40, happily accepts the
role of Jamaica’s
chief guardian. As he states there is nothing he wouldn’t do for Jamaica, who
turns three in July.
“I do everything for the child,” Mr.
Bodden said. “I’m both her mother and father. It’s not really difficult for me
because I have a lot of people supporting me.
“The community as a whole is very
supportive of me. God sent so many persons to help me. People like Pastor
O’Connor of the Kings (Seven Day) Adventist Church, my aunt Florence Berry (who
been watching me since I was 10), Colford Scott, Francine Roach and Donovan Ebanks,
who has been like a father to me.”
Mr. Ebanks is the acting Deputy
Governor in Cayman and assumes the role of Governor whenever the Governor is
off-island. As he states Mr. Bodden is a man who defies the norm.
“What I admire about him apart from
his hard-working personality and general character is he is a role model in and
of himself,” Mr. Ebanks said. “Though he has an affinity for a certain style
and appearance he doesn’t live that lifestyle.
“He doesn’t smoke, drink or
anything adverse like what many people would assume. People here would
associate a guy with dreads with a lot of things but he breaks those stereotypes.
He has worked hard for anything he has ever owned and everything he has today.”
To help raise his daughter Mr.
Bodden is employed full-time as a foreman with the Public Works Department (and
has been there many years). An avid dancer, he does break-dancing for fun and
states he has an interest in teaching it to the youth to keep them out of
Aside from that his name came to
the fore recently through The Achievement Center pre-school. He raised the most
money for his daughter’s school for the third straight year, bringing in some $5,000
in that time.
“Jamaica is my only daughter and I’d
do anything for my little girl,” Mr. Bodden said. “She brings great joy to my
Years ago, before Mr. Ebanks rose through
the government ranks as Deputy Chief Secretary and now Deputy Governor he was
an integral figure in the Public Works Department.
As Mr. Ebanks states, it was during
his tenure there that he first met Mr. Bodden.
“Peter’s father used to work for me
up at Public Works back when I was there,” Mr. Ebanks said. “He was a security
guard and back in those days there were no security companies. I knew Peter as
a kid, in those early years he was just him and his dad. His mom in Jamaica passed
away some time ago as I’m led to understand.
“When he became of working age he
came to work for me to earn some money. He was 12 or 14 years-old when I first
met him and 17 years-old when he started work for me.
“He used to be active in dancing
and football and was a good young man. Today he is sincere and has a genuine
appreciation for life. He’s proof that a person can look a certain way but he
or she doesn’t have to be that way.”
Ultimately Mr. Bodden is, in some
way, a single parent in austere times that are quite taxing. Nevertheless he
presses on and offers advice for the “more traditional” single parents.
“I encourage them to have courage,”
Mr. Bodden said. “Be really there with your kids. It’s possible to be with them
but not be there with them in every way. Everyone can have a child but not
everyone can be a good parent. Instinct has guided me to do what I do and it’s
all in us as adults to know what is right and what is wrong.”