Phuket Opinion: For the good of the few
PHUKET: Less than two months ago, Thai tycoon Dr Boon Wanasin stated his desire for Phuket to become a Special Economic Zone, which would in effect give the island complete autonomy over its decisions.
Friday 27 July 2012, 04:22PM
We wrote an editor’s viewpoint in that same week, both extolling the virtues of such a system and raising specific areas of concern. We stated that theoretically the elimination of time-consuming bureaucratic filters in favour of a more localised leadership could be a positive thing.
Dr Boon argued that Phuket people knew Phuket and if decision-making, budget-setting and regulation-enforcement could be done by Phuket authorities, who actually know the specific needs and requirements of the island, then a lot more could be done, a lot quicker. Theoretically...
We also said in June 15th’s viewpoint that the breaking off of Phuket from the rest of Thailand could also have many negatives; it could create ruthless competition between neighbouring provinces and an unhealthy focus on money-making and money spending in Phuket.
The rest of Thailand would also not benefit from Phuket’s spoils. For us, this would only be short-term gain as opposed to a more environmentally sound and sustainable future that would benefit Phuket and the rest of the kingdom both financially and environmentally.
This week Preechawut Keesin, the son of Patong Mayor Pian Keesin, who is also president of the Patong Taxi Federation and president of the committee that oversees the quality of police work in Patong, came out to say that in fact Patong should become a self-governing municipal area (SGMA), much like Pattaya.
Proponents of Patong becoming an SGMA want Patong to be run by people with an investment in Patong. People who know Patong blah, blah, blah... Some would argue that it already is. Some would argue that this is the problem.
Would giving absolute power to those in charge of the area improve things for the people of Patong and for all who visit? Or would it merely improve things for those in charge of the autonomous town?
Do we want to risk finding out?