The meeting, led by Cherng Talang Police Chief Col Serm Kwannimit, Commander Jatupon SaNgaNgam of the Royal Thai Navy Third Area Command and Mr Sakorn Pudam from the Phuket Marine Office, after more than 100 disgruntled local residents and beach operators on Nov 27 massed at Surin Beach to present a list of demands in the hopes of clearing up “misunderstandings” about alleged duplicity in allowing beach operators to serve tourists on the sands and to raise the standard of the beach so that it becomes more attractive to tourists.
Regardless, the list of demands presented on Nov 27 ranged issues far beyond beach vendors on the sand.
It also called for the Phuket Governor, the Thalang District Chief, officials from the Cherng Talay OrBorTor and even the Deputy-General of the Land Department to meet to resolve the issues. (See story here.)
Also present at Friday’s meeting were chief of the Cherng Talay Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) MaAan Samran, Surin village headman Chaiyong Yenthip and more than 40 Surin residents.
However, it should be noted that when the time came for Mr MaAnn to answer the resident’s lists of demands, he choose not to answer the questions himself and allowed Cherng Talay Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Wachira Sakunchit to answer on his behalf.
The resident’s first request was that the Cherng Talay OrBorTor Chief (Mr MaAnn) must create an official document that allows trade in public areas.
To this, Mr Wachira replied, “The OrBorTor has no power to allow trade in public areas.”
The next issue was that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) is cited as the reason for the beach management, but then local shops are demolished. Is this right?
Mr Wachira response was, “The OrBorTor has no power to allow. The law must be followed.”
Third on the agenda was the issue of local massage operators being provided licenses for providing services on the beach.
To this Mr Wachira said, “Before we did allow massage services on the beach, but now there are beach arrangements so local massage operators are not allowed on the beach.”
Another request made by the residents on Nov 27 was that the boundaries of a plot of land covering 250 rai that has been recognised since 1931 must be marked out clearly.
Mr Wachira explained, “Before this area was a 101 rai plot of land. After the beach arrangements, this area was measured as a 106 rai plot of land and it has its boundary clearly marked.”
Issue five of the resident’s 12 demands was that lifeguards and equipment be provided for tourists.
Regarding this issue Mr Wachira said, “This is the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation’s (PPAO, or OrBorJor) responsibility.”
It was also requested that the Cherng Talay OrBorTor Chief provide at least two public toilets for tourists, and local residents who exercise at the beach, to use.
“Temporary toilets will be provided, which will be ready to use in two to three days,” said Mr Wachira.
Residents also requested that lights be provided on the beach for the safety of tourists and local residents (at night), and that the grass in the area must be cut for cleanliness and safety all year round, and to these points Mr Wachira said, “We are fixing them [the lights], but some spare parts have been stolen.
“With regards to the grass, “We have already pushed the agriculture division to hurry on this. If they cannot handle the issue we will have to hire people to do this.”
Residents also requested that it be clarified whether the Surin football pitch belongs to a private entity or the public and how much budget is spent on this facility?
To this Mr Wachira responded, “This football pitch was constructed by the Phuket OrBorJor, so the OrBorJor is responsible on this.
With regards to the issue of whether double standards were being applied between beach bed and umbrella vendors, Mr Wachira said, “No they are not. Surin Beach is a honour beach, no beds and umbrellas are allowed.”
A further demand raised by the locals was that all building permits, including for the wastewater-treatment system, Chalermprakiet Building, Tourist Assistance Centre, seawall and Surin Beach, must be checked.
To this Mr Wachira explained, “These projects belong to the Department of Public Works and Town & Country Planning and all details can be checked.”
The resident’s final demand was that it was confirmed who is responsible for damaged roads in Surin village?
To this Mr Wachira said, “It is our responsibility, we will fix this.”
Surin village headman Mr Chaiyong added, “Officials should clarify about allowing beach vendors. I know that they cannot say anything because they are government officers, but they know local people are having trouble for places to work.”
The meeting concluded that no beach vendors, whether temporary or permanent, are allowed until officials find solutions with the other relevant government offices.