There are to be no more lifeguards on Phuket Island now that the nine year relationship between the Phuket Lifeguard Service and the Phuket provincial and Thesaban administrators is over.
The contract for providing professional lifesavers at Patong beach, the final beach under their watchful eye, finished yesterday.
Speaking to the MD of the Phuket Lifeguard Service Company, Vitanya Chuayuan, today The Thaiger noted a tone of resignation in her voice after the long battle the company had to provide skilled and professional lifeguards along Phuket’s beaches.
Phuket’s outgoing governor, who finished his tenure on the island on September 30, Norraphat Plodthong passed the baton of issuing contracts to lifeguards services from the island’s central Provincial government down to the local Thesabans.
Each local municipality would handle their own contracting for patrolling their local beaches.
The new tenders have resulted in two years of turmoil along the west coast beaches with a hotch-potch of volunteers, paid life-savers, trained, untrained and ‘locals’ putting on the traditional red and yellow outfits to patrol Phuket’s beaches.
The results, as logged in story after story about drownings on are evidence of the failure of the new system to provide an adequate or professional level of international-standard lifeguarding in Phuket.
All this whilst the numbers of tourist arrivals, especially during the traditional wet-season, keeps increasing, year on year.
Vitanya says that it was a sad day indeed as the company, which had worked so hard to improve the standards of lifesaving on the island for so long, had to now watch from the sidelines as the quality of lifeguards, and the entire system of island-wide beach patrols, descends into bureaucratic turmoil.
“I have not spoken to Phuket’s new Governor at length about the matter, but the old governor believed that giving the money to the Thesabans, and letting them control the provision of services, would be a better solution.”
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