PHUKET: No change in policies in the Phuket lifeguard contract means there are no guarantees that lifeguards won’t walk from the sands again as their contract expires and the dangerous southwest monsoon season begins anew in 2016.
“We want the public to be confident about their safety. However, we cannot change the laws or system for the bidding process. We also cannot change the need for any company bidding on the contract to make a five per cent deposit,” Phuket Provincial Administration Organization (PPAO) Deputy President Saratham Jinda told the Gazette.
The delay in the re-signing of the contract this year was due to issues concerning the five per cent deposit. However, last year, the beaches went unguarded for almost a month, following the lifeguards walking off due to issues concerning the details of the contract (story here and here).
Phuket Lifeguard Club President Prathaiyut Chuayuan reiterated to the Gazette today that the PLC didn’t have the capital to make the deposit until the contract had expired, that is after last year’s deposit was returned to the Club (story here).
“Everything remains the same. The PPAO has not made any policy changes, and we simply don’t make enough money to pay the deposit before receiving back the previous year’s deposit,” said Mr Prathaiyut.
“I’m glad to hear that the PPAO will be doing its best to expedite the process. We’ll just have to see what happens next year – hopefully there won’t be a gap,” Mr Prathaiyut said.
Mr Saratham confirmed that the PPAO would be doing what it could to prevent a gap in lifeguard presence on the island’s beaches from occurring again, within the confines of the current system.
“However, it will depend on how the bidding process goes, the PLC and the governor – who has to sign off on us taking the next step in getting lifeguards on the beaches, assuming no company bids during the two months that the contract is up for grabs,” Mr Saratham said.
Though the PPAO plans to expedite the paperwork to prevent a gap, it was noted earlier this month that the bidding for the new contract – which left Phuket beaches without lifeguards for about two months – was opened up almost six months prior to the contract ending.
— Kongleaphy Keam
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