Each of these governors set their sights on what they see as the island’s most-pressing problems, whether it’s the taxi mafia, waste disposal or illegal hotels. All good problems to fix, but not really ones that make international headlines.
But perhaps Phuket’s biggest problem – one which no governor has really attempted to solve but which regularly makes headlines around the world – is the daily carnage on our roads. We have seen some governors ramp up helmet safety campaigns, but never has a governor come out and spoken directly about the recklessness of so many drivers here in Phuket.
Many readers would surely agree that reckless driving is a leading cause or road deaths on the island. Most readers would also agree that it is a result of lax or wrong-headed enforcement of the traffic laws by police.
There are nationwide campaigns, albeit usually at Songkran or New Year, aimed at making Thailand’s roads safer, but once these campaigns are over it’s back to more of the same. More recklessness, more lives lost. There has never been a local campaign to improve how safe local drivers are or traffic law enforcement and it’s not as though the problem could have escaped the governor’s attention.
Last week’s editorial highlighted how the world watches Phuket and you can rest assured that the world also watches when it comes to this issue. If current Phuket Governor Norraphat Plodtong really wants to give the world something to see, now is the time to make a stand.
The latest road death, involving a 20-year-old Kawasaki Ninja rider, is a case in point. It appears that both parties in the accident were behaving recklessly, surely knowing they had little to fear from the police, who are ostensibly responsible for enforcing traffic laws.
Gov Norraphat should come out and make it clear that this recklessness can no longer continue. If he does, he can be assured that The Phuket News, and the whole of Class Act Media, will support a plan to make a change. We are fed up with reporting road deaths on a daily basis from accidents that could so easily be avoided.