Pakkapong Tawipat, who is currently serving as the Governor of Phitsanulok will take up the top post in Phuket on Oct 1, bringing with him little more than a bachelor’s degree in political science and
a master’s in public administration from the American International College, Springfield, Massachusetts, USA.
He’s going to need them, both.
Phuket and Phitsanulok could not be more different if you tried. Phitsanulok is a landlocked province with little more than 84,000 people, where temperatures soar to an average daily high of more than 37ºC in the hot season before more than 240mm of rain belts down on average during the wet season months of August and September.
The northern province, although historically important, today is a farmer’s field, but what Phitsanulok does have is a major Army base. Maybe he should bring that with him.
Governor Pakkapong should be bracing for a baptism of fire, not something any person would welcome at the age of 57 and approaching the twilight of their public career.
The problems he will face have been left unsolved by every single Phuket Governor who has gone before him. The issues he will be affronted with range from tourism, boat safety, lack of lifeguards
and tourists drowning, traffic, drugs, issues specifically affecting foreigners such as work visas and so on, wastewater being pumped directly into the water at popular tourist beaches, trash dumped everywhere to government land stolen with no action by ofcials despite a Supreme Court order.
We won’t mention the possibility of corruption in Phuket.
We welcome any changing of the guard that brings new hope, but historically that is all that the people of Phuket have been left to hold on to. The policy of the past 10 years for any Governor not staying
in office more than one year has not allowed any incumbent enough time to fix any of the real problems as they are too busy playing ‘whack-a-mole’ and posing for photos to make any real headway.
At least this time, the incoming Governor has been given more than a day’s notice to move to an entirely new province with a buffet of woes to counter that he has never encountered before.