The confirmation came following Mayor Aroon holding a meeting at his office at the Rawai Tambon Administration Organisation (OrBorTor) at 10am yesterday (June 21) aimed at tackling the issue of begging sea gypsy children.
Present at the meeting were Superintendent of Chalong Police Station Lt Col Pratuang Ruangthong, Village headman of Rawai Moo 2 Mr Jarung Thaojan, Rawai Deputy Mayors Nikorn Foosaksomboon and Teeraphong Taodang, police officers and Rawai municipalilty officials.
During the meeting, Mayor Aroon confirmed, “As an initial solution we will set up a checkpoint. Either a Village Security Team or Civil Defence Volunteer will be stationed at this checkpoint every day starting from tomorrow from around midday until 9pm,” Mayor Aroon said.
Mayor Aroon noted that the municipality has already discussed the issue with the parents of the children responsible, but “their cooperation is not as it should be”.
“Basically, the families of the beggars are very poor. In the past we have tried to negotiate with parents to send their children to study at Wat Sawang Arom School, to meet basic education according to the policy of the state. This is free of charge, but some don’t even have money to buy uniforms.
“These children do not have the courage to go to school because some of them are bullied, or have a different physical appearance, like dark skin or curly hair.
“Further, their parents do not see the importance of education, so they think there is no harm to with the children being uneducated and going out begging. So this problem arises.
“But it should also be acknowledge that some of these families do see the value of education, and that some of the sea gypsy kids go on to study bachelor degrees too,” said Mayor Aroon.
“There is a further plan to invite the leaders of sea gypsy community to talk and find mutual a solution with the Rawai OrBorTor to resolve this issue,” he noted.
Mayor Aroon had warned on Tuesday of police intervention if initial solutions do not solve the problem. (See story here.)
Village headman of Rawai Moo 2, Mr Jarung ,explained, “All the children come from the same village (Moo 2). They are a group of about twelve now. It is starting to become a big problem, where before it was a small problem, with only one or two of them begging.
“It has gotten to the point where we need to patrol these tourist areas. The officials stationed there will hopefully scare them away,” he said.
Mayor Aroon and several officials present at the meeting then went to Rawai pier to inspect the site, discuss the checkpoint, and draw attention to the separate, ongoing issue of messy parking.
The officials stationed at the new checkpoint won’t only patrol to check for begging children, they will also be prepared to help arrange the parking area around here.
“They will coordinate with relevant agencies to help solve these two problems in the long term,” Mayor Aroon said.