The order came at a meeting held at the Governor’s House at 8am on Wednesday (Mar 21), noted the NNT report. (See story here.)
The meeting was attended by Vice Governors Thawornwat Kongkaew and Prakob Wongmaneerung, Phuket Provincial Chief Administrative Officer (Palad) Sakchai Kunanuwatchaidet and others.
Also present was Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) Acting Chief Watcharin Patomwattanapong, who has been central to the ongoing lifeguard crisis.
The report by the NNT, which acts as the news publishing arm of the Public Relations Department of Thailand (PR Dept), came in the absence of a full report by the Phuket PR Dept office, which on Wednesday posted a brief message on only one of its two Facebook pages for disseminating news. (See port here.)
The message read, “Today (21 Mar 2018) 8am Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong led a meeting to solve the lifeguard situation. As the PPAO had hired lifeguards for the budget year 2018 for a total of 10 beaches which covered 12 beaches in three districts.
“Joining Gov Norrapaht were Phuket Vice Governor and others
- at the Governors House
- Photo/ Phuket PR Office”
Not mentioned but plainly visible in the photos posted in the Phuket PR report were military personnel and high-ranking police officers, all unnamed in the report.
Meanwhile, the NNT report published on Wednesday, claimed, “In the past the PPAO provided lifeguards for two months from Dec 28 last year to Feb 26 for six beaches; six lifeguards at two points at Nai Harn Beach, two lifeguards at one point on Yanui Beach; seven lifeguards at three points on Kamala Beach, six lifeguards at two points at Surin Beach, 11 lifeguards at five points on Bang Tao Beach and five lifeguards at two points on Mai Khao Beach.
“In total there were 37 lifeguards covering 15 points [at six beaches].
“The PPAO reviewed the TOR (terms of reference) for the lifeguard beach safety budget year 2018 project framework. The PPAO requested to change the expense budget for year 2018 within the TOR,”
According to the NNT report, Gov Norraphat said, “Relevant offices have to quickly find solutions to solve the lifeguard situation in Phuket in order to bring safety confidence for tourists.
“Local administrative offices have to be responsible for the beaches which are in Muang Phuket district (Nai Harn, Yanui, Kata and Karon) and Kathu district (Laem Singh, Kamala and Patong) and lifeguards should be ready to work on April 1.”
The statement reported by the NNT repeats Governor Norraphat’s order handed on Dec 12 for all local administrations in Phuket to provide their own lifeguards for the beaches in each of their own respective areas. (See story here.)
However, confusing the issue greatly was that the NNT also reported Governor Norraphat as saying, “A company that passes a procurement will have to start working for Thalang district (Surin, Bang Tao, Nai Thon, Nai Yang and Mai Khao).
“Local administrative offices that do not have a budget for six months periods from April onward have to submit documents to request budget support from the PPAO.
“For next year’s budget, local administrative offices have to provide a budget for themselves,” Gov Norraphat reportedly said.
That explanation for the PPAO to provide “financial support” for the provision of lifeguards followed Governor Norraphat on Dec 12 plainly ordering for the PPAO to be no longer involved. “The PPAO will no longer be involved,” he said.
The NNT report gave no explanation for the Governor’s reported change of position on the PPAO’s involvement in providing lifeguards for Phuket’s beaches.
The Phuket News is currently conducting an online opinion poll asking the simple question, “How should Phuket’s lifeguards be provided?”
For a fuller explanation of Phuket’s ongoing lifeguard crisis and to vote in the poll, click here.