By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
HUNDREDS of mourners gathered at St Francis Xavier Cathedral yesterday for the funeral service of a man Prime Minister Perry Christie called “an outstanding son of Bahamian soil” - former Police Commissioner Bernard K Bonamy.
Mr Bonamy died aged 67, two weeks ago, in the Princess Margaret Hospital after being admitted with a low pulse.
Paying tribute at the service, Mr Christie dubbed him “a good and faithful servant of the Bahamian people” who secured “a lasting place of respect among the nation-builders of the modern Bahamas.”
Mr Bonamy was a “no-nonsense police chief,” the Prime Minister said, who insisted on discipline, professionalism and service with honour at all levels of the Royal Bahamas Police Force.
“BK had the twin distinctions of being one of the youngest Police Commissioners in our nation’s history and the longest serving in an independent Bahamas,” he said. “He will also be remembered as a sound and innovative thinker and law enforcement strategist.”
His time as Commissioner is marked as being a time of “reform and modernity,” Mr Christie added, saying: “Under his leadership, the number of police stations in New Providence grew; he initiated the Police Staff Association; the computerisation of the force began under his leadership and he implemented many crime strategies that were new to the force.”
He was dedicated to his country, passionate about policing, a strong disciplinarian, creative and imaginative in finding policing solutions and a policeman who conducted himself with great dignity, Mr Christie said.
Mr Bonamy was born on April 1, 1945 in Arthur’s Town, Cat Island, to Reverend and Mrs Bertram Bonamy.
He enlisted into the police force on June 17, 1963 and after graduating from the police college, he was assigned to the Southern Division until he was sent to the Abaco District in 1972 where he remained for a year.
He received many accolades during his life, including being personally granted the Lieutenant of the Victorian Order by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth on board the Britannia in 1985.
Mr Bonamy retired from the force on November 21, 2001, having completed 39 years of public service -14 of which were spent as Police Commissioner.
Mr Bonamy leaves behind his wife, the former Shirley Hall, and five sons and two daughters.