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Phuket Opinion: Enough is enough

Phuket Opinion: Enough is enough

PHUKET: The recent revelation that the Phuket Provincial Administration Organisation (PPAO, or OrBorJor) has secretively awarded a B13 million contract to provide lifeguard services on Phuket’s beaches to a Bangkok-based “marketing survey, engineering and strategic planning consultancy” is the latest mind-boggling development in the ongoing lifeguard debacle.

tourismmarinepatongSafetyopinion
By The Phuket News

Sunday 18 March 2018, 09:00AM


A tourist sits on the beach with no lifeguards in sight. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

A tourist sits on the beach with no lifeguards in sight. Photo: Tanyaluk Sakoot

Details about the contract, signed off by much maligned PPAO Acting Chief Watcharin Patomwattanapong, are hard to come by, but it appears that it came into effect on Mar 1 and stipulated that the Bangkok consultancy, LP Laikhum Co Ltd, must have 98 lifeguards on patrol from Mar 1 to Sept 30.

But this requirement of the contract has already been broken – as of yet no legal lifeguards have been stationed on Phuket’s beaches. Apparently because the names of the 98 lifeguards to be employed have yet to be submitted for approval by the PPAO – another contract requirement.

On Mar 14, The Phuket News was made aware that Royal Thai Army soldiers were patrolling Kamala Beach requesting existing volunteer lifeguards to cease providing services as they were not employed by the new contract holder. Patong Beach volunteer lifeguards also said that they were unable to continue their work and confirmed that at present there are no officially sanctioned lifeguards patrolling any beaches in Phuket.

That such an appalling breach of the contract terms has already occurred, within weeks of it supposedly coming into effect, should immediately render this shady lifeguard contract legally null and void. The PPAO has a clear obligation, and the public has an overriding right, to demand transparency in the tender process for a service that can make the difference between life and death for those who use Phuket’s beaches.

We have not heard from Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodthong on these latest developments, but if he wants to stick by his guns and ensure that a sustainable solution to the lifeguard issue is found, he should scrap this current contract and work to find a financially sustainable long-term solution as soon as possible. Preferably without any input from the ineffective and belligerent PPAO Acting Chief Watcharin, who seems intent on sabotaging any effective solution in favour of arbitrary and opaque short-term band-aid solutions.

How many more people will die while this ridiculous saga plays out?

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albator | 19 March 2018 - 17:22:53

Should  put a sign on all phuket beaches. NO LIFEGUARD, SWIM AT YOUR OWN RISKS. Write it in English, Chinese and Russian. That should definitely appeal more tourists to  come to Phuket

Foot | 18 March 2018 - 14:49:13

The water on the beaches isn't the only thing that smells bad.

Kurt | 18 March 2018 - 13:11:48

The many years beach lifeguard problems ( actually by thai created problems) show the diss-harmony between thai departments, this includes now the army as well
Where are the brains to remove volunteer beach guards when there are no other beach life guards take over instantly right away?
Is this the SMART Phuket thinking how to handle Phuket beaches?
Just 1 word:  DUMB. No respect for tourists

Asterix | 18 March 2018 - 11:31:34

Perhaps it is Phuket Province which needs responsible lifeguards in ethical mismanagement at all levels of the Thai administration in Phuket such as PPAO or OrBorJor, OrBorTor, Municipalities, Puyai Bans and so on...

All problems in Phuket are never fixed properly such as beach lifeguards, encroachments on public lands, illegal Thai nominees for foreigners, permanent traffic jams and so on..

Discover Thainess | 18 March 2018 - 10:56:06

It’s amazing that the army don’t have anything better to do than move volunteer lifeguards, maybe this shows powerful forces in play. The article is another great one from PN. How about having a couple of counters on the PN homepage: 1. Number of days the new lifeguards are late and 2. Number of tourists drowned in that period. Might focus the mind on the issue?

Xonax | 18 March 2018 - 09:59:44

Just put the red flags up on beaches as usual!  The water is too dirty to swim in anyway.

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