Gov raps Public Welfare Chief

PHUKET: Governor CEO Pongpayome Vasaputi today obliquely criticized the Chief of the Provincial Public Welfare Office, Taweesak Saleesang, for remarks he made to the press about the local TAT Director, Anupharp Thirarath. K. Taweesak made the remarks after K. Anupharp, at a provincial meeting on Tuesday, voiced concerns that a major Swedish tour operator might pull out of Phuket if the island could not solve its problems with child labor, homeless children and child prostitution. K. Taweesak told reporters yesterday that he thought the Governor “should use his CEO powers” to have K. Anupharp transferred out of Phuket because what he had said had made Phuket look bad. According to Thai newspaper reports, K. Taweesak added that there were only 16 homeless children in Phuket. The Governor, asked today about the row between the two men, looked irritated and said of K. Taweesak, “He wasn’t in the meeting, but he’s been talking as if he was.” He made no further comment. K. Anupharp told the Tuesday meeting that he had had discussions with a Swedish researcher who had come to Phuket to investigate the child abuse situation, and that she had said there might be a possibility that Star Tour – which specializes in family-oriented tourism and sends some 100,000 tourists a year to Phuket – might pull out.

Phuket News
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