PHUKET: If there's one thing Phuketwan
would like Phuket's honorary consuls to request when they meet with Governor Maitree Intrusud on Tuesday, it is for the release of regular updated statistics concerning the road toll and drownings.
Comprehensive, accurate statistics are what separates democractic countries from dictatorships and places where the rule of law cannot be maintained.
To have a popular international holiday destination in a rapidly developing country where the dangers on the roads and in the water are not clearly defined and regularly updated by statistics is unacceptable.
To have a popular international holiday destination in a rapidly developing country where little is being done to arrest the number of deaths and injuries on the roads and in the water is worse than unacceptable.
Until April last year, Phuket's Public Health Department released regular updates every month. This had been a sensible idea, a habit going back years.
With reasonably accurate figures about the road toll and drownings, Phuket residents and people who were planning to visit Phuket could assess the risks involved with some degree of accuracy.
People could tell whether the battle to save lives on the roads and in the water was being won or lost.
Yet for the past 16 months, there has been no way of assessing the risks - because in all that time, the statistics about the road toll and drownings on Phuket have not been released.
What's particularly alarming about the change in approach from openness to secrecy is the number of drownings that have occurred on Phuket's beaches in that period.
By our reckoning, it's a serious number - a total far too high for a year-round beach destination.
Most of these needless deaths on the beaches occur because there has been no community action plan to prevent them.
With the capacity of social media to alert people quickly these days to danger in every corner of the world, it would be foolish to imagine that the number of drownings on Phuket can be hidden.
Allowing rip-offs and scams to continue over the years has now, finally, brought the intervention of Bangkok authorities on Phuket.
Allowing residents and tourists to die needlessly in the water and on the roads of Phuket really should have triggered alarm bells in Bangkok, too.
The trouble is that most envoys concentrate on the welfare of their own citizens. Adding up the numbers from one nation to the next is the role of news outlets.
can see that drownings especially are at an unacceptable level and that Phuket must take a proactive approach to saving lives.
The road toll figures, if anything, probably show positive results from efforts to make Phuket safer, although the numbers of motorcycle-related maimings, especially among the young, probably remain too high.
Whether the battle to save lives on Phuket's beaches and on Phuket's roads is being won or lost, we can't say.
It's a secret. And it shouldn't be.
LATEST police statistics about expat deaths on Phuket again show a high number of drownings, either in pools or at Phuket's popular beaches.
The total of 35 expat deaths on Phuket between March and August seems surprisingly low. The same number of deaths was recorded on Phuket in January-February.
Other deaths are probably not recorded in this list, for a variety of reasons. However, it's much better to have uncertain statistics than to have none at all.
Switzerland 48 March 5 Chalong Collapsed at home
Niall William Walh
Ireland 34 March 8 Chalong car crash
Italy 56 March 8 Chalong car crash
Mrs Linda Brooks Jewell
British 51 March 14 Chalong personal illness
Russia 43 March 22 Karon drowning
Italy 64 May 11 Tung Thong Hit head in fall
Gunter Anton Fuchs
Germany 56 May 13 Chalong personal illness
Peter Loots Triebner
Germany 57 May 17 Karon personal illness
Loh Zhi Wei
Malaysia 29 May 21 Tachatchai motorcycle crash
Mrs Semon Cherie Winters
New Zealand 47 May 26 Vichit personal illness
Beat Albert Siegerst
Switzerland 66 May 29 Chalong personal illness
Malta 70 May 30 Kathu personal illness
France 24 May 30 Chalong suicide by hanging
Miss Faetra Augustina
US 29 May 30 Chalong no cause determined
China 27 June 2 Chalong drowning
Australia 61 June 16 Tung Thong personal illness
Russia 54 June 19 Karon personal illness
Jeremy Thomas O'Neill
British 37 June 21 Kathu drowning
China 43 July 1 Chalong drowning
Mrs Aino Marianne Seeppala
Sweden 56 July 9 Chalong personal illness
Khudhair Abbas Mansoor
Iraq 46 July 16 Kathu personal illness
China 31 July 18 Chalong drowning
Korea 85 July 20 Vichit old age
Russia 29 July 20 Kathu drowning
Belgium 40 July 20 Kamala drowning
Ramesh Chand Singhal
India 49 July 22 Karon drowning
Joshua John Smits
Australia 25 July 24 Kathu suicide jump
Japan 48 July 26 Vichit personal illness
Clifford Nelson Bamford
Dominican Republic 69 July 1 Vichit personal illness
David Jay Goin
Canada 47 July 3 Tung Thong personal illness
Mark William Caarroll
US 51 July 7 Karon drowning
China 92 July 16 Kathu personal illness
Russia 32 July 22 Karon drowning
Syria 45 August 5 Karon drowning
China 22 August 9 Chalong drowning