Dennis gives 38 years to security in PNG

Dennis and Sharyn Bux with Dian (Dennis’ sister) in earlier years at their homestead at 11-Mile, Lae.

IN Papua New Guinea, the need for building strong family units and protecting those whom you love and care about is a very important part of day to day to living. The Melanesian way of life is set in a way where families, friends and sometimes mere acquaintances try to look out for each other at every chance they get.
Back in the early 60s right up to the late 80s when the security industry was relatively new and not yet a major area of interest for aspiring business owners, very few people dared to get into the business of providing security services to homes and businesses that were willing to pay for the service back then.
One such person that dared to take a risk by tapping into the security business and in turn revolutionising the security industry in Papua New Guinea was Dennis William Bux, founder and managing director of the Guard Dog Group of Companies also known as BBS Holdings Limited.
Bux who is of Australian decent and originally born in Montague, South Melbourne as Dennis William O’Connor on Nov 3, 1941 to parents William and Melba O’Connor, first arrived in Lae, Papua New Guinea in September 1965 as a young man of 24 years to take up a job as operations manager for Ottley & Ottley Transport. Little did he know that he would be calling Papua New Guinea home for the next 50-plus years thereafter.
This is the story of Dennis William Bux, the young man who chose to leave his country and travel across the seas to settle in and provide a lifetime of service to the beautiful island nation of Papua New Guinea.
When Dennis arrived in Lae during those pre-independence days, there were only a few companies providing security services compared to the number of security firms found throughout the country today.
Although providing security services was not the initial focus of his move to Papua New Guinea, it did not take long for Dennis to realise the need to build a security company that was worthy enough to gain the trust and respect of the people. So Dennis set out to build a security company that involved the services of guards and guard dogs as well. The idea to include guard dogs came quite easily to him due to the fact that even before starting a security company, his extensive knowledge and his personal love for dogs made it easier for him to build relationships with them thus the idea to build a security company complete with dog and handler came to be.
In fact, Dennis remains one of the most experienced specialist dog breeders and trainers in the Southern Hemisphere to day.
Dennis who originally started off his business in the transport industry, would not have ventured into business without the support and inspiration from his beautiful wife Sharyn Ann Walters whom he met in 1969 and later married in 1977 at the Lae Botanical Gardens.
Sharyn had also come to Lae to work for Ansett Airlines as an assistant credit controller. Dennis and Sharyn had two daughters – Stacy and Kristy. Dennis also had two sons from his previous marriage – Kurt and Scott.
In 1972 though, while the couple were still dating, they ventured out to pursue their own interests and started their first ever trucking company business then known as Huon Hire Services which quickly grew and extended its’ services to Madang with trucks, workshop and transport pioneering the Lae-Madang connection running their first trucks through this section.
Between 1983-1984, Dennis and Sharyn decided to extend their trucking business by venturing into the security industry and so Guard Dog Security as it is now, was borne out of Madang which was where the business first started off.
In 1984, Dennis decided to move the Guard Dog headquarters from Madang to Lae, to its’ present-day headquarters which was formerly known as Sunny View Estate.

Dennis Bux and James Garang going through a drill back in the early 80s.

Some of the very first people that Dennis engaged when the security company was newly established include people like James Garang the gardener turned dog trainer, Nancy Darius the admin lady now training manager, Milo the gardener and cowherd, Dennis Sui Security Supervisor as well as Ernest Baki (deceased), Toka, Kips Navaki and Franky who to this day still remain in the company and perform various roles within the various departments of the Guard Dog Group.
Based at the Guard Dog headquarters located along the 11-Mile Okuk Highway in Lae, these people continue to work with Dennis in making Guard Dog Security a credible and well-respected security company and so have built a reputation as a trusted PNG owned family business that is out to serve the people of PNG as far as security and safety is concerned.
Most of these people have stuck by Dennis throughout the years and have grown old together with the company. On the occasion of Dennis’ 80th birthday a few weeks ago, many of these people came out to talk about how much of an impact Dennis has had on their lives throughout the years.
Dennis Sui, who is now the barracks commander at the 11-Mile base and has been with Guard Dog since its inception in 1983, said that had it not been for Dennis Bux, his family would not have had a good life and for this he showed gratitude by saying, “I want to take this time to thank Mr Bux for giving me the opportunity to work with Guard Dog. Because of this, I have been able to look after my family all these years and have been able to send my children to school. I not only want to thank him for giving me a job but for making jobs available for many other Papua New Guineans as well.”
Joseph Makamu from Central Bougainville who has been employed by Guard Dog Security for close to 20 years now said that he is thankful to Mr Bux for rescuing him as well as his fellow brothers from Bougainville by going over there in 2002 to give job opportunities to young Bougainvillean men like himself who were still trying to recover from post-traumatic stress disorder following the Bougainville Crisis.
“I have so much respect for Mr Bux because he did us a very big favour by going over there to Bougainville and giving us a second chance in life. We were all broken men trying to recover from the aftermath effects of the crisis and Mr Bux provided a way for us to heal and be the better men that we are now.”
Makamu further said that through the jobs they now have, they are able to accommodate their families at the staff barracks and are also able to send money back home to their families in Bougainville for their upkeep.
Dennis who has been in PNG for over 55 years now is a naturalised citizen and has assimilated into the PNG Melanesian way of living as evidenced by the fact that he continues to live amongst his Guard Dog family at his homestead located at the 11-Mile base and continues to interact actively with his Guard Dog family as well as the local people in Lae and the surrounding areas.
To be able to raise a family in a foreign land and also manage and run a business and at the same time learn the culture and ways of the people in a new country was indeed a great challenge during the earlier years but Dennis is a man who works hard, a man with a heart of gold, a man that always chooses to place the safety and wellbeing of his people way before his own.

Dennis and Sharyn Bux today.

Being a very private man himself, Mr Bux keeps a close-knit circle of friends and family but still goes out of his way to give back to the community and the country which he now calls home. Throughout the years, Dennis has provided assistance and has contributed countless times to charities, schools, institutions from hospitals to correctional institution and sporting teams. A while back, Dennis arranged for a container of wheel chairs to assist people living with disability which is channeled through the Lae Chamber of Commerce and Trade.
His most recent contribution in the health space has been the construction of a brand new ISOS Clinic also located on site at 11-Mile which so happens to be the second largest ISOS clinic in the world. This clinic was opened to members over two weeks ago. Dennis has worked collectively with the RPNGC, AFP and assisted with improving their requirements and needs with vehicles, dogs or any assistance they may require.
From starting with only 15 dogs imported from Australia to now having a reputable breeding and kennel facility set up at GDSS headquarters and additional kennel facilities throughout the country and boasting of one of the largest National Security Training Academies in the Southern Hemisphere, Guard Dog Security now operates in more than eleven centres and has well and truly revolutionized the security industry in Papua New Guinea, continuing to set the precedence and standard as a professional security service provider in the country.
Many years ago, when Dennis was only setting out to build Guard Dog Security, it was intimated that security companies should be owned by national citizens. Dennis without hesitation applied for his Papua New Guinean citizenship and soon after became a PNG citizen. This decision alone has had a direct positive impact in the lives of many Papua New Guineans who have come into contact with the Guard Dog Group in one way or another.
BBS Holdings Limited is the umbrella organisation for the Guard Dog Group of Companies which include the following enterprises: Guard Dog Security Service (Port Moresby); Guard Dog Security Services; Security Systems Ltd; Guard Trans Ltd; Dalco International Ltd; Sunnyview Holdings Ltd; and National Security Training College Ltd.
Since its establishment, the Guard Dog Group of Companies has employed a total of 127, 349 Papua New Guineans.
Today, Guard Dog Group of Companies is the largest privately-owned security company in PNG and the Southern Hemisphere, serving all sectors of the economy with an unrivalled nationwide branch and communications network and a fully accredited security training centre.

  • Gunika Melo is a freelance writer.