Buimo commanding officer farewelled

It was an emotional affair today at the Buimo Correctional Institute in Lae as Chief Superintendent, Judy Masani Tara, was farewelled.

The commanding officer of PNG’s largest prison is finally calling it quits after over three decades of service.

From Amoa village in Morobe’s Huon Gulf district, Chief Superintendent Tara joined the PNG Correctional Service on July 21st, 1986.

In 1990, she was promoted to the rank of corporal, where she was the non-commissioned officer in charge of Port Moresby’s Bomana female wing. The next year she became inspector, then chief inspector in 2002, superintendent – manager administration in 2005 and from 2005 to 2019, she acted as the chief superintendent on a relief basis, relieving five commanders during that period.

Chief Superintendent Tara was finally appointed as Buimo’s commanding officer in 2019, and she is taking a break at the age of 60.

She told this newsroom that though the retirement age in public service is 65, she is retiring early on medical grounds.

“But I am happy that I have faithfully served the Papua New Guinea Correctional Services for 34-and-a-half years,” she said. “And I wish to thank the Commissioner and his team for the support that has been given to me.”

The outgoing commander further appealed to the heads of CS to give female officers equal opportunity, highlighting that though correctional institutes are male-dominated, women have the ability to change the mindsets of hardened criminals.

“And I have witnessed that in my 34 years,” she said. “And I wish to give a challenge to young female correctional officers that this was an opportunity that was given to me and I am sure that the Commissioner and CS heads will give that opportunity to those that are willing to rise up and be counted among the men.”

Apart from the outgoing commander, other officers who were farewelled were Correctional Sergeant Major Robert Maimjuwi, who had clocked 45 years of service, Sergeant Wini Smithy with 39 years of service and Corporal John Leo Spairong with 45 years of service. Lance Corporal Morris Awano, who has given 44 years to the CS, and Correctional officer Titus Efi, with 3 decades of service, were not present for the occasion.

The outgoing officers received certificates of appreciation from the CS Commissioner, Stephen Pokanis, after their motorcade parade.

Pokanis gave the assurance that they will be on pension as soon as they come off the payroll in three months’ time.

Carmella Gware