PHUKET: With Associated Press now reporting on a statement by European Ambassadors about scams, corruption and needless deaths of tourists on Phuket, local authorities must react - and quickly.
Eight tourists drowned on Phuket's most famous beaches at this time last year. Yet there has been no sign of extra precautions to prevent further disasters this year. Three tourists have already drowned in the same dangerous period this year.
Needless deaths occur among tourists and residents on Phuket's roads all the time. The reaction of local officials: Health authorities have simply stopped issuing monthly updates on the road toll and the number of drownings.
Outspoken criticism about Phuket, first by the Chinese Ambassador and now by all of Europe's ambassadors, calls for immediate action. Phuket's problems are being reported today around the globe.
Everyone knows. There are no secrets any more.
The authorities have just two choices. Phuket's officials can do as they have often done in the past, and try to sweep the issues - needless deaths, scams, corruption, thuggery - out of sight. Pretend everything is fine. Fudge the figures and smile.
Or they can try the alternative for once: fix the problems. Try action for a change. Make Phuket the safe and honest place it needs to be to have a bright future.
Phuketwan urges the national government to make Phuket a role model for the rest of Thailand.
It's Thailand's most international province, with tourists and workers from Burma and other countries possibly even outnumbering Thais at times.
As Thailand grows more connected to Asean and the rest of the world, these core issues - greed, corruption and the need to treat tourists and residents justly - rise in importance.
Phuketwan urges the Government of Thailand to make a stand now. Show the rest of the world that Thailand is and always will be an honest and safe place to do business, and to visit.
Fix Phuket. Fix the safety issues, fix the scams. Fix the thuggery and the corruption. Make Phuket a role model, a place that sets the standards for the new, international Thailand.