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Phuket Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob: Money is not the answer

Money is Not the Answer, Says Phuket Governor

Saturday, November 28, 2009
PHUKET Governor Wichai Praisa-ngob is a straight talker and his quote of the week came not at the so-called ''jet-ski jamboree,'' where he made the operators take a pledge to behave like boy scouts.

It came at the meeting of his special environmental review committee, which has become in many ways the key to Phuket's future.

The committee has the final say on all property development projects, large and small.

While this week's meeting at the island's Provincial Hall administrative HQ lacked the impact of having big projects under discussion, the governor's directive to the media at the event may echo in a few boardrooms.

''Tell everybody that this committee does not accept money,'' Governor Wichai told the media. As far as Phuketwan has been able to tell, not too many members of the media have taken up his suggestion.

We gather that his comment was based on several telephone calls he has received from people who are apparently anxious to have projects approved as fast as possible.

It is not the first time that the governor has made this point at the committee meetings. The previous time, his comment was clearly addressed to the committee members.

Someone had apparently indicated that they could act on the governor's behalf. Not true.

This time, Governor Wichai was aiming to reach a wider audience.

There has been some scepticism about the manner in which Phuketwan has reported the dramatic change in thinking about future development on the island.

We think the governor has said this week what he believed clearly needed to be said.

The old days, when environmental impact assessment reports were not subject to serious scrutiny, when a rubber stamp was almost a foregone conclusion, are over.

Governor Wichai has made it plain to Phuketwan and anyone who chooses to listen that he wants Phuket's environment properly protected.

As a result, the committee has sent several developers' representatives - and even a widely-regarded architect - off to consider whether their projects are really of benefit to all, or just a few.

The representative of one resort project left a committee hearing with a list of 60 questions that required answers. The answers have since been provided to all except four of them.

But those four questions cut to the heart of how one builds a resort and simultaneously preserves the surrounding environment.

This week, Govenor Wichai made one thing crystal clear: money is not the answer.
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Comments

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Great governor, but, he's retiring next year.
The next governor will set the tone. If he is not as upstanding as the present one, things will go back to the way they were.

Posted by Sir Burr on November 28, 2009 19:19


Wednesday October 5, 2022
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