PM goes walkabout in Patong

PATONG: Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra went walking in Patong this afternoon to view its problems first-hand, and later said that the environment, garbage disposal, land encroachment and public transportation were the main issues facing Phuket. He met and talked with tourists and Thais on the beach. At one point, Patong’s ex-mayor, Pian Keesin, approached the PM and gave him a document. Bystanders heard him asking the PM for “justice”, though details remained a mystery. The walkabout came after a briefing about tourism problems at the Provincial Meeting Hall in Phuket Town and a short visit to Saphan Hin to look at a proposed site for the international exhibition and convention center (ICEC). K. Thaksin referred to building the ICEC at Saphan Hin as “an interesting idea”, but said that studies about the environmental effects would still have to be made. He stressed the importance of listening to the opinion of the local community. “We have to listen to the local people. This means the whole local community, not just the leaders of the community,” the PM said. He also said that if a decision is made to go ahead with the ICEC, the project should be carried out by the private sector, with government support. As for funding the project, K. Thaksin said, “Thailand today is not a country that has a lot of money, nor is it a country that has no money. We must use our money effectively. “If it’s something useful for the well-being of the people then we will have to find the money one way or another. But if it’s going to be built only so that it would look good and make a good impression, it’s not worth it, and there’s no money for it.”

Phuket News
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