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Larry Cunningham to quit as Phuket Hon Con


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Larry Cunningham to quit as Phuket Hon Con
Jody Houton

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Larry Cunningham speaks with a Police Assistant at Karon Police station on August 30.

PHUKET: -- After serving as Australia’s Honorary Consul in Phuket for more than eight years, Larry Cunningham has decided not to renew his contract with the Australian Government and will step down from the position on September 30.

Friday’s aggressively tense meeting with Siriporn Tantiphanyatep, the Director of the Phuket Passport Office, had had no bearing on his decision, Mr Cunningham said.

“It was always the plan. My contract came to an end on August 20 this year, and I was never going to run again [for the post].”

Mr Cunningham said that one of his main reasons for wanting to step down was that he wanted to spend more time with his grandchildren in Australia.

It was for this reason that, initially, the Australian Embassy was looking at whether there was a way that would allow him to work part-time.

“It would have worked if there had been sufficient funds to hire an assistant or to have opened up an Australian Consulate on the island, which has always been my dream,” he said.

As yet, no one on the island has been approached to take Mr Cunningham’s place as Australian Hon Con.

He is optimistic that the embassy will be able to find somebody, though he added, “Whether anybody else is going to be brave enough to step into the breach, we will have to wait and see.”

Mr Cunningham said that he had taken positive things from Friday’s unpleasant incident and disagreement at the Phuket Provincial Hall – particularly the words of encouragement he has received since then.

“The support over the last few days has been incredible, thanking me and praising me for the stance I have taken. People I haven’t spoken to in years have been contacting me. Sometimes it feels like a thankless task, but when I receive support like that it makes it all seem worthwhile.”

He added, “I’m sure there will be a few people happy at Provincial Hall who will be happy with my decision.”

The Australian Ambassador to Thailand, James Wise, has paid tribute to Mr Cunningham. “Australia could not have wished for a more committed and energetic honorary consul,” he said.

“The numbers of Australians visiting Phuket in recent years have risen enormously, and so has the demand for consular services. Mr Cunningham has responded quickly, effectively and compassionately to this growing demand.

“Australian visitors as well as long-term residents have valued his contribution very highly. He has managed their day-to-day concerns efficiently.

Mr Wise also paid tribute to Mr Cunningham’s efforts to improve the safety and wellbeing of all tourists in Phuket, not just Australians.

“Mr Cunningham is an enthusiastic advocate for Phuket. He knows that Phuket will prosper only if tourists and residents continue to feel safe and welcomed there. He has worked tirelessly to draw to the attention of authorities any issues of concern.”

Mr Wise also acknowledged the assistance of Mr Cunningham’s Thai staff, who have supported him as Honorary Consul. Their efforts are also deeply appreciated, he said.

Source: http://www.thephuketnews.com/larry-cunningham-to-quit-as-phuket-hon-con-41693.php

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-- Phuket News 2013-09-02

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There you have it, noticed any other other consulates lending a word on the matter? Australia and other countries relations with Thailand, go far beyond a few ripped off tourists,he was always gonna lose, bet he copped it from the Australian side.Thanks mate for keeping your pride,take my hat off to you, as a fellow Australian.

No, I don't believe this has anything to do with it. I do believe though that knowing he would not continue his post may have let Larry Cunningham to a few more brazen remarks than normal.

But governments don't act so swiftly, so the present 'argument' with a Thai official has in my estimation nothing to do with this.

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I know it is an honoury position, but is it formally recognised by the Australian government? Will the position be advertised?

It is something that I would stick my hand up to do.

Larry Cunningham should be proud of his commitment over the last 8 years!

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I know it is an honoury position, but is it formally recognised by the Australian government? Will the position be advertised?

It is something that I would stick my hand up to do.

Larry Cunningham should be proud of his commitment over the last 8 years!

Frankly this kind of position is probably one that if you have to ask for it you should not get it.

Agree about Larry Cunningham.

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