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Phuket Governor offers reprieve to Patong Loma Park food vendors

PHUKET: Governor Chockchai Dejamorntham today ordered Patong Municipality to stop work on renovating the Loma Food Court building on the Patong beachfront into a “community building” until the dispute with vendors evicted from the food court had been resolved.

tourism, construction, patong, economics,


Darawan Naknakhon

Thursday 24 November 2016, 06:05PM


Gov Chockchai ordered the Patong authority to halt its reclamation of the the government-owned building after food vendors appealed to him for help again today en masse at Phuket Provincial Hall.

The vendors’ appeal follows Patong Municipality workers sealing off the building yesterday (Nov 23), preventing 13 vendors from opening their food stalls still inside the building.

The council workers moved in at about 1:30pm, led by Patong Deputy Mayors Veerasak Kaminthong and Boonma Eibsap, and accompanied by military personnel and volunteers.

The workers set up metal barriers to seal off the area.

The move comes after all the leases issued to the vendors had expired, and after Patong Mayor Chalermluck Kebsup told vendors at a meeting at Provincial Hall on Nov 1 that it was likely “too late” for Patong Municipality to stop its plan from converting the Loma Food Centre into a “community building”. (See story here.)

At that same meeting, held after the vendors filed a complaint with the the Damrongdhama Centre (Ombudsman’s Office), Phuket Vice Governor Teera Anantaseriwidhya urged both parties to try to resolve the dispute without resorting to legal action.

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“We want the Governor to investigate why Patong Municipality did not discuss this problem as directed in the meeting but instead they proceeded with tools to seal off the area from us,” former Loma Food Court vendor Wannee Kesakomol said today.

“Patong Municipality needs to resolve this problem. We want to be able to sell food in the area until both of us reach the agreement on this issue,” she added.

Patong Municipality Legal officer Somchai Netibumrung explained that officials were acting lawfully in sealing off the building as all the leases had expired.

“Our management policy is to use this area to be a new building for the public, for which the plans have already been approved,” he said.

“The last leases expired in October and we gave them 15 days notice to remove their belongings and vacate the premises,” Mr Somchai said.

“Yesterday their time was up, so officials came with tools to seal off the area. However, the work was halted after they demanded us to stop.”

 

 

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Joe12 | 25 November 2016 - 20:00:47

Kurt...it's because people matter. How do you arrive at your conclusion that the Governor was taking sides? A lease/contract may be a lease/contract, but you are not qualified to make statements as you have no recourse to the terms of those leases/contracts given that they are disputing their eviction. 

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Kurt | 25 November 2016 - 14:53:50

@ CaptainJack69,  A good comment of you.
Actually it shows that the Phuket Governor takes side of the law breaking vendors, some of them not even paid their lease fees long time(!), and the rest of them not respect their expiring date of their lease.
Yes, that trading of them on the beach was also illegal.

Why many times thai people do not understand that the law is the law, and what they signed legally are bounding contracts.
Why always play the illegal cards?

It is a puzzle to me what is the aim of this Governor, supporting everything there what is not according the law at Patong Loma park, acting contradictive ( against) Patong Mayor!
Governor's use of the word 'dispute' is here complete nonsense.
Oei, I forsee frictions between Patong OrBor Tor and the Governor in future.
Not wise when you just have arrived here and not use your authority according the law.

Why the governor not spend his valuable time on the enormous pollution at Surin Beach?
Much better for his prestige.

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CaptainJack69 | 25 November 2016 - 13:43:39

The vendors' leases expired and they were given plenty of notice to move out.  They were already breaking the law and the terms of their leases by trading outside their premises and on the beach. The landlord has a (commendable) plan to improve the area. The vendors refuse to leave and the governor (apparently) takes their side.

Thai culture teaches us that people can do what-ever they like until someone actually forces them to stop. The law is there but isn't really any impediment to the individuals' wishes, especially when the individual has been doing so for any length of time.

There is actually precedent under Thai law for "amnesty by grandfathering" i.e. when something illegal has been going on for a long time it may be excused and continue indefinitely.

These vendors have already been there too long. They have paid little or no rent to run ugly businesses on prime beach-front real estate. It's high time they left.

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