Naturally enough, when there’s a military dictatorship it means the military comes to run everything. Civilians are kept around as minions and a sop to some obscure notion that Thailand isn’t run by a military junta.
Thus, a report at The Nation on the new Army Region 4 commander’s plans for running Phuket should be no surprise at all.
During a familiarization visit last week, Lt Gen Piyawat Nakwanit looked over his realm and ticked off “a list of at least a dozen problems he feels need urgent resolution.”
Making money probably wasn’t on the official list, but postings to top tourist areas and places where there’s lots of crime are prized by police and military bosses for the cash flow these activities generate.
But back to the general running Phuket. He reportedly was “generally satisfied with the state of tourism in Phuket…”. You get the impression that the general actually knows something about managing municipalities rather than just how to shoot demonstrators.
He let “powerful people” and “officers [presumably civilians] who unlawfully practice their duties” were on the way out. In fact, that’s usually a way of telling the money spinners that there’s a new boss in town and that they better work out how to send the loot his way.
A bunch of hangers-on from “government and private sector … joined the meeting at Phuket Provincial Hall [with the general], where the issues under discussion ranged from beach management, public transport management and public land encroachment, to human trafficking, immigration, illegal tour guides and security.”
Gen Piyawat also “discussed a number of problem areas, such as driving licences, the dressing practices of public transport drivers, parking area management, checking the condition of vehicles and adjusting the prices of public transport.”
Yep, the way people dress….
With the military on top, generals run anything and everything.
Gen Piyawat behaves rather like the royal governors of the 19th century. The civilian governor, acknowledging military dominance, meekly agreed that “he would do what’s in the island’s best interest.”
The military rules and civilians toe the line.