The meeting, held on Tuesday (Nov 1), followed Suriya Sinsoke leading more than 18 vendors to file a complaint at Provincial Hall Thursday last week. (See story here.)
The vendors filed their complaint after Patong Municipality began refusing to renew leases as and when they expired, some as far back as 2013, but more recently with more vendors’ leases not being renewed in October.
At the meeting were Patong Mayor Chalermluck, Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Poonsak Naksaena, officials from Damrongdhama Centre (Ombudsman’s Office), food vendors from Loma Food Centre and Capt Boontop Lanthong from Office of Phuket Public Prosecution.
Patong Mayor Chalermluck said that Patong Municipality had been constantly trying to resolve the issue, but accused the vendors of continually refusing to comply with the lease conditions.
“We are not renewing the leases because some vendors do not follow the regulations,” she said.
“These vendors have been told many times to uphold the lease conditions, but they have ignored us. They set up chairs and tables in the public area (outside the building) and said that if these were kept inside their stalls, they could not sell their food,” Mayor Chalermluck explained.
“Some vendors refused to pay rent,” she added.
Mayor Chalermluck admitted that ousting all the food vendors was unfair to those who did follow the lease agreement, but added that it was likely to be too late for them now.
“Today beach business operators asked Patong Municipality to allow those who want to sell and are willing to follow the regulation to stay where they are – but we cannot promise anything to them now,” she said.
“Patong Municipality wants to renovate this area into a multi-purpose building for the community to use. We have already been approved the budget of B20 million to use for this next year.
“If there are any changes now, we will have to start all over again – and right now I cannot give you an answer. We will have to meet to discuss this again,” Mayor Chalermluck said.
Vice Governor Teera Anantaseriwidhya, who presided over the meeting, said he would prefer to resolve the issue without either of the parties resorting to legal action.
“We held this meeting so both parties can discuss a way out. This issue can be resolved without using the law. However, if this fails, then we might have to resort to using the law,” he said.