A BOUGAINVILLEAN WHO BECAME ONE of PNG’s top police officers, Joseph Bemu, 62, died last Saturday at his village in the Lenoke area in Buin District of south Bougainville.
The retired Chief Superintendent Bemu was the first Bougainvillean to be appointed to the post of the Assistant Police Commissioner on Bougainville in 2004.
He lost a leg during the Bougainville conflict, but never let that interfere with his duty.
Joe was a good and honest man and worked hard for reconciliation in Bougainville. He was my wife Rose's adopted father and his wife Mary was 'best woman' at our wedding.
Joe and his family took Rose in and looked after her at Bomana when she was down and out in Port Moresby and had been deserted by relatives. She later took his name.
He has been described by the acting head of the Bougainville Police Service, Supt Paul Kamuai, as an honest and committed officer who commanded the Service through a very challenging time when Bougainville was emerging from the crisis period, with a lot of public distrust of police.
Born in 1950 at Masiongu village in the Lule constituency of Buin, Joe joined the Royal PNG Constabulary as a recruit in 1972.
He made his way through the ranks while serving in various postings around PNG, receiving honours and commendations for his service, particularly in the Highlands and Popondetta and as chief instructor at the Bomana Police College.
Later he was transferred to Bougainville and served as the provincial police commander from 1998-2003, and later as the Assistant Police Commissioner of the Bougainville Command from 2004-2007.
Joe retired in 2007 due to ill health and was elected chairman of the Lenoke council of elders.
He will be sadly missed.