The request, addressed directly to Governor Norraphat Plodthong, was filed at the Damrongdhama Center (Ombudsman’s Office) at Provincial Hall this morning (Jan 24).
“We have tried to co-operate with officials and local police about coral damage cases since October 30, 2017, when a diver was photographed sitting on coral,” Go Eco Phuket Secretary Ittiput Schadt told The Phuket News.
“Officials are unable to charge this male diver who sat on coral because they don't have enough evidence,” he said. (See story here.)
“Many cases are going too slow, some cases have failed. Officials are difficult to cooperate with in seriously trying to help conserve the marine environment.
“We have tried enough, Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong must know about this problem,” Mr Ittiput added.
“We require the Governor to set up a team of officials from the Tourism Business and Guide Registration Office, the Department of Marine and Coastal Resources (DMCR), the Phuket Marine Office, Marine Police, the Labour Office, Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command and Go Eco Phuket, in order to deal with cases threatening marine life,” Mr Ittiput explained.
Mr Ittiput also reminded officials of the public announcements by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) ordering them to perform their duties.
“Under the orders given by the NCPO and government regulations, it is the responsibility of the Governor of each province to immediately respond and fix residents’ problems to prevent and protect the forest and environment,” he said.
“Marine life and the environment is not only for people to visit, they need to be taken care of. If you find out about or see any persons doing harm or destroying it, that person must be exposed or others might do the same and cause more damage to the marine environment.
“We have done this for four years, but we need support,” he said.
Nuanchan Samat, who is the head of the Tourism Department at the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor), supported the move.
“I am a Phuket person and I do care, and support having a special team set up to help protect our marine environment,” she said.
“In my position as head of the PPAO Tourism Department, I will help the PPAO to support this as best I can,” she added.
Phuket Damrongdhama Centre Chief Athiwat Yodwan, who received the request filed today, thanked Mr Ittiput.
“I will read it later,” he noted.
Mr Athiwat declined to answer questions from the press.
“I don’t like to be in the public light, but I am a productive working official. I will follow up on this as fast as possible,” he said, before walking away.