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Phuket Opinion: A New Hope

PHUKET: Norraphat Plodthong concludes his term as Governor of Phuket today (Sept 30) as he enters his retirement. Stepping in to take his place as the leading government official on the island from tomorrow (Oct 1) will be Pakkapong Tawipat, who is arriving from his previous post as Governor of Phitsanulok.

opiniontourismpollutionconstructionaccidentsdeathmarineSafetyenvironment
By The Phuket News

Sunday 30 September 2018, 09:00AM


Governor Norraphat Plodthong (right) visits lifeguards at Phuket’s Surin and Bang Tao beaches in May this year to see how functioning lifeguards work. Photo: PR Dept

Governor Norraphat Plodthong (right) visits lifeguards at Phuket’s Surin and Bang Tao beaches in May this year to see how functioning lifeguards work. Photo: PR Dept

Governor Norraphat is concluding only his term as Phuket Governor of just over one year, just like his predecessors for the past decade. The Phuket News recognises that it is challenging to have any real long-term effect with such a short tenure – and we have often questioned the effectiveness of Bangkok’s policy to rotate Phuket Governors so often.

Looking back, Governor Norraphat may consider himself just plain unlucky to have the deaths of 47 Chinese tourists, including children, on his hands and during his watch, when on July 5 when the Phoenix tour boat sank in Thailand’s worst maritime disaster in modern history. After all, he had done nothing more – or less – than any other Governor before him to improve marine tour safety, regardless of the constant of speedboat collisions, sinkings and drownings.

However, it has been very difficult to discern whether Governor Norraphat’s presence in Phuket has had any quantifiable positive impact at all.

People are dying on the roads at the same rate as when he arrived; police have openly reported that drugs are getting worse, nothing has changed in stemming rampant development, the island’s government offices have the same lack of transparency, and our lifeguard coverage at the beaches has been left in tatters.

Taking into account that Patong is still pumping untreated wastewater into Patong Bay, as is done at Surin Beach and elsewhere, and the fact that he has even failed during his term to enforce a Supreme Court order to evict tourism-business squatters from government land, it’s hard not to say that it’s got worse during the past year.

Gov Norraphat has noticeably strongly supported high-profile public litter cleanups, but even those were introduced by Chockchai Dejamornthan – the Phuket Governor that he replaced.

Yet, as we do each year, we wish the outgoing Governor a fond farewell and look forward to a new Governor with a breath of fresh hope.

The odd thing is that in this country, New Year comes slap bang in the middle of a seven Days of Danger campaign. At this stage we’re still hoping that’s just a coincidence.

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Jor12 | 03 October 2018 - 11:47:40

Strange how commentators - as does this opinion piece - just focus and whinge on what has been the status quo . How about a debate and opinions on the devolution of power, from Bangkok to the states themselves.

LES | 02 October 2018 - 20:38:43

A shambles, nothing has changed in 20 years as there is little will because there is no profit to be made. Sad indictment but true. 

DeKaaskopp | 02 October 2018 - 11:23:05

DT,obviously you don't understand your own writings.Saying that Phitsanulok is probably as far away from the sea as is possible in Thailand means that it is the place furthest away from the sea.Which i correctly doubted! And as we know by now,that the new Governor worked at some places near the sea already,it makes your whole comment about his experience expendable.

Discover Thainess | 02 October 2018 - 06:58:12

@DeKaaskoop: the sentence you quote that I wrote says that Phitsanulok is a very, very long way away from the Sea. Which it is. It is a land locked province. There are not many places in thailand further from a beach. There are many, many more provinces far closer. It is you who does not understand, not @P69, and not me. 

DeKaaskopp | 01 October 2018 - 11:13:34

P69,either you missed the quotation marks regarding DT's comment i started with,or your comprehensive ability is a bit weak.Anyway thanks for the confirmation of my comment regarding distances.

Doneit | 01 October 2018 - 09:04:49

Thailand was once a beautiful place which had clean sea water everywhere, and no fly tipping. Over the years more and more people are/were coming here, and the whole country is getting dirtier both land and sea. Nothing gets done to treat the increase in sewage, so it just gets pumped, or in some cases dumped straight into the sea from places wright on the shore line. Thailand no future thought.

fedepar | 01 October 2018 - 07:12:55

At present the Rawai Tambon is completely cut out of the rest of the island because of the works at Chalong circle and the lack of alternative roads.
All the businesses around this area ar loosing a lot of money and tourists.
Will the new Governor do something for the incoming season ?

philipmason69 | 30 September 2018 - 21:40:34

@DeKaaskopp. Phitsanulok south to sea at Samut Prakan = 370km.  West, over a mountain range and through Myanmar (that's another country) = 300 Km. You don't think that's a long way? Greatest possible in Thailand; NE Chiang Rai, SW to Myanmar = 490 Km. Maybe look at a map before denigrating others' "geographical knowledge".

Fascinated | 30 September 2018 - 17:33:01

New Governor = groundhog Day. Stand by for the same old soundbytes and little actual  substance.

Well done Dkk as usual you put foot in mouth with all the negativity. New Gov was previously the VGov of Phang Na but don't let that get in the way of your rant.

DeKaaskopp | 30 September 2018 - 14:36:08

"Phitsanulok is probably as far away from sea as is possible in Thailand" What to learn from comments by expats/experts, if  ones geographical knowledge already fails so badly?

Discover Thainess | 30 September 2018 - 10:50:16

@Kurt, maybe after a year in charge of phuket it is financially viable to take early retirement ? 

Discover Thainess | 30 September 2018 - 10:49:11

Phitsanulokseems a strange place to find a governor for Phuket, it’s probably about as far away from the sea as is possible in Thailand and as beaches dominate so much of Phuket & its tourism it doesn’t seem he will have any experience. Maybe that’s a good thing, who know? With all the issues as listed in the article I wish him well, as Yazz once said, “The only way is Up!”

Foot | 30 September 2018 - 10:24:07

It's ok to be optimistic, but, nothing really changes in the governors musical chairs game.  
They know they have 1 year then be transferred.  A proven way to never change things.
Why is it done this way?
Does Bangkok want things to get better or stay the same?

Kurt | 30 September 2018 - 09:28:36

At what age is this departing governor retiring? Hope the next Governor has authority, stamina and skills.
Phuket departments need a shake up in order to terminate their 'autonomous behavior', and not following Governor orders.
Now: First clean beaches, effective skilled beach life guards, and terminating health treatening beach water pollution by Phuket towns/villages.

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