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Phuket Must Become Transparent and Honest to Beat Corruption and Save Lives

Saturday, June 22, 2013
News Analysis: Brave Enough to Change

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.

Start today.

Comments

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Perhaps Phuket could become a hub........

Posted by eezergood on June 22, 2013 08:12

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The only way to force change on Phuket is a credible and very real fear of lost revenue.

Appeals to justice, humane treatment, equality or just plain old common decency all fall on deaf ears.

If the EU Ambassadors follow through with their intention of issuing official travel warnings, that just MIGHT constitute a credible threat to revenue.

Let's see. This time half the world is watching.

Posted by ThaiMike on June 22, 2013 11:52

Editor Comment:

I am fairly sure no diplomats want to ''force change.'' What's being requested is the adoption of acceptable international standards. Most people have an enjoyable holiday on Phuket, even though everyone who rides in a taxi or a tuk-tuk is ripped off. There's a general acceptance that Phuket is a great destination but that expert help is needed with specific issues.

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The day when ALL corrupted civil servants will be prosecuted and send to jail with in extra heavy fines and all bounties, bank accounts will be confiscated; then, Thais will get respects from international communities.

Today a corrupted civil servants is transfered to an inactive position in another province; so he can continuious to get rich at the expenses of taxpayers.

Posted by Whistle-Blower on June 22, 2013 13:09

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In the words of many presidents & politicians: "transparency & accountability". I doubt Thailand & specifically Phuket knows how to translate these sentiments! That is why the regulars are leaving in droves.

It will eventually bite them in the ASS big time!

Posted by Logic on June 22, 2013 23:20

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woow Ed like the chinese ambassador your not pussy footing around and I agree though I think there moved just a little bit into the current century the days of the life guard asleep in the tower seem a distant memory now or I hope they are.

Posted by slickmelb on June 22, 2013 23:57


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