PHUKET: Pamuke Achariyachai, President of the Kata Group of Hotels, was elected Chairman of the Phuket Chamber of Commerce today, following three months of confusion that climaxed in the resignation yesterday of his predecessor, Charn Wongsatayanont, Managing Director of Phuket Jet Tour. K. Charn resigned as the result of a protest from a member that the former chairman’s membership and those of many other members were not legitimate. “I’ve worked for the Chamber of Commerce since 1987,” K. Charn said in a statement released yesterday. “I have done a lot of work and I have tried to protect the image of the chamber. “That image may have been tarnished by attempts to usurp positions in the committee and by the confusion that has reigned in the past three months. “Even if I were able to continue as chairman, I don’t think I could do the job smoothly,” he wrote, “so I have decided to resign.” The protest that sparked K. Charn’s resignation was based on the fact that applications to join the Chamber must be supported by two existing members. Some memberships were voided after they were found to have only one signature. In a chain reaction, this in turn affected others whose applications had been supported by the disqualified members. As a result, 74 members of the Chamber – more than a third of the total 220 – were disqualified. These included Wisut Tangwittayaporn, who had raised the issue in the first place. The situation was worse in the 21-seat committee. Checks by the Department of Internal Trade resulted in 12 being disqualified, leaving just nine people on the committee. Of these, four voted for K. Pamuke as chairman, two voted for Kreingsak Suksomboon, the manager of Bank Thai plc, and the remaining three abstained. After his election, K. Pamuke said, “The first thing I’m going to do is to clear up the confusion over membership. Sometime next week we will hold elections to fill the empty seats on the committee. “I don’t think this problem will cause people to lose faith in us. “As to my future policy, I want to try to bring together all business clubs and organizations, under the umbrella of the committee of the Chamber of Commerce. “Other priorities are to have our own offices and to push the chamber more into the international arena, especially when it comes to tourism matters.” K. Charn was elected to a second two-year term as chairman just four months ago, defeating K. Pamuke by 11 votes to 10.
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