Hon. Philip Brave Davis
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works & Urban Development
MP for Cat Island, Rum Cay and
Wednesday 6th March,
Remarks at the Memorial Service
for the late Bernard Kenneth Bonamy
Former Commissioner of Police..
I begin my tribute with these four words which best
describe a man who served the institution which he modernized and dedicated his
life for 39 years.
I speak of the man who bravely
fought for his country on the front lines.
Like the thousands of honest,
hardworking Bahamians who courageously rise each new day to move our country
forward, so did this native of Cat Island beginning his journey more than 40
his capable hands to the task of building our nation.
Bernard Kenneth Bonamy, like so many before him, heeded
the call to national service and stood strong and dedicated, guided by that
call, to the very end.
He was ambitious.
Holding true to his native Cat
Island roots, with what many described as an indomitable spirit that drove him
to the zenith of his career.
BK, as we affectionately called
him, was a policeman’s policeman.
He was the lawman who not only
upheld the law, but he knew the law.
His passionate zeal for education
fueled his determination to study the law, enabling him to proudly hold his
LL.B degree in 1978.
His quiet, humble, debonair
Bahamian spirit was clearly evident.
BK had pride.
He had convictions.
He was like an apostle in his call
on this side of God’s vineyard; he knew talent when he saw it, and, in that
spirit of great renewal, he continued the aggressive transformation of our
country’s national security.
After his extensive global training
- experience in policing, and passionate zeal to elevate the fine men and women
of the Royal Bahamas Police Force, BK encouraged excellence in policing and
opened global training to his officers.
He was visionary.
The Bahamas lost a true soldier at
2pm on February 22, 2013 when BK passed from this plane of existence into
He was a soldier, not just in the
military sense, but a REAL BAHAMIAN soldier- proud to be a part of our
Bahamaland and proud to represent the same all over the world.
BK ate, slept and lived law
In fact - BK really never left the
RBPF. The national security of Bahamians was always on his mind.
On Feb. 12 - ten day before his
passing – he sent me an email penning advice on Urban Renewal and shared ideas
to move the program forward.
He was excited by the idea of
civilians working along with officers – He believed it was the right formula to
BK yearned for a crime-free society
and worked towards achieving that goal, inside and outside of the walls of the
He was a NO-NONSENSE type of man
and when he showed you a smile on that rare occasion.
it was a GENUINE gesture.
Some would say the longest serving
Commissioner of Police was
a “human lie detector”.
Let me explain….
He needed no machine to detect the
truth or a lie coming from a human being and because of this,
many shuddered to be in the front of
him and made it easy on themselves by being upfront …..
confessing whatever they knew about a crime.
BK was the same with parenting.
His children knew what he stood for
so not many secrets were successfully kept.
Everyone knew BK to be a man of
excellence in everything he did.
From Arthur’s Town, Cat Island, BK
brought that dynamic island zeal with him to the city.
He educated himself and made sure
that each of his children were given the opportunity to advance themselves
BK’s desire for every young man or
woman in the community of Cat Island and The Bahamas, in general, was to
the best that he or she could be and keep that unbreakable focus.
BK held the professional admiration
of his peers on the force, and also the young officers at entry level.
the commander knew his troops.
I can see him now - standing smartly out in front of the uniformed
branches as they marched in the spirit of unity to the House of God on the
first Sunday of the New Year…
…..A tradition still upheld
to this day.
He raised standards.
Believed in discipline.
And exhibited National Pride.
Speaking of PRIDE, ask any Cat
Island native and they will tell you that this son of the soil was truly the
PRIDE of his hometown.
He was a REMARKABLE gentleman and
He was consistent.
As friends of ours you gathered
weekly at the Beverley’s Kitchen on Carmichael Road for lunch on Fridays, we
knew we were in good company.
He was a
dependable, reliable and trustworthy friend.
Away from all of this appreciation
for service to country, I, on behalf of the Government and people of the
Bahamas would also like to express my profound thanks and appreciation to
Mrs. Shirley Bonamy and all the children.
To you, Shirley and the family -
thanks for sharing your world with us.
lending to our nation a tested brave soldier….
Your selfless sacrifices have not
gone unnoticed.…..Thank you!
Soon, too soon, we all will gather in that hallowed cathedral,
of our stalwart warriors lies cold in death.
Soon, too soon, the muffled sounds of the drums will beat a staccato
matching the pounding of the hearts of comrades,
openly mourn your passing.
Soon, too soon, our country will gather for the last time in final
mourning and bid farewell to one of our nation’s finest sons.
…..Goodbye, dear friend - goodbye to your youthful years.
under the tutelage of your cigar-smoking mentor, Edney Johnson, who saw early
what others could not:
the measure of
the great man you would become.
We will say Goodbye, dear friend goodbye….
your friendships – long lasting friendships, which started in Arthur’s Town…
From afar I admired the bond of
friendship you enjoyed with your fellow Cat Islanders:
Kemuel Hepburn, Henry Thurston (deceased),
Edmond Stubbs and countless others,….
…. a bond
of friendship which only death could sever.
We will say goodbye, dear friend goodbye….
Goodbye to the times with your
siblings, which was special to observe.
was these ties with friends and family, which were demonstrated in your role of
Commissioner of Police.
organization you transformed from an
club” to an institution, which today is the jewel of the region.
Innovations, which you introduced
and fostered during your tenure, solidly laying the foundation on which all
others can build.
mark of one's success is truly measured by the fact that one leaves a place
better than the way one meets it.
Fourteen years at the helm confirms that success.
Goodbye, dear friend goodbye….for….
Good soldiers never die, they
merely fade away.
Rest Eternal Grant Unto Him O Lord!