On January 10th 2011, at the meeting room of Phuket Provincial Hall, Niwit Aroonrat, a Vice Governor of Phuket, presided over a seminar on the network of poor citizens and ethnic groups of sea gypsies’.
Snit Saesua, a representative of Andaman Sea Gypsies, said that government agreed to help the sea gypsies recover their traditions and cultures as well as preserve the area called ‘Special Culture Areas’ for them. The government announced on June 2nd 2010 that the sea gypsies would be helped in stable residences, permission in traditional fishery, public health, nationality and ID cards, education and local culture curriculum, support in language and culture, and cultural events. This seminar aimed to help the government and the sea gypsies to reform their communities more systemically. It also allowed the sea gypsies to understand the situation facing people from different ethnic groups in other parts of Thailand.
In the Andaman, there are 30 sea gypsy communities in six provinces. The sea gypsies are facing problems of temporary residences since they don’t have land titles, the residences announced as parts of marine life conservation areas, or their residences were threatened by tourism entrepreneurs. Moreover, social, economic, education, and other problems affect them as well. Even though the government vowed to help them, it is necessary to review problems in each community before setting up a system to help the sea gypsies and to support them to live their lives confidently.