Thursday, December 31, 2009


Photo: John Reid. Sydney Morning Herald

Inevitable confusion

You can guarantee that the more clarifications we're given the more confused the situation will become.

The latest in a long and never-ending line is the restaurant 'service charge' issue.

First, restaurants have been openly charging anything from 5% to 30% 'service charge' even though it has apparently been illegal since 2006.

Many claim they weren't told that it was illegal and I'm sure very few of we paying customers knew that it was.

We're told that although the law is in place it requires a bylaw before it can be enforced.

We're also told that we can't refuse to pay the illegal charge if a restaurant demands it.

Today we have clarification in The National.

The Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development’s chief lawyer has said that customers should refuse to pay service charges at non-tourist restaurants.

A couple of days ago a senior official at the Dubai Economic Development Department told Gulf News that consumers can't take action and refuse to pay the service charge at any restaurant.

So which is it? Is the law to be applied differently in each emirate?

And how can we be sure the restaurant is 'non-tourist'? The new information is that the ban does not apply to restaurants licensed by the various tourist authorities, which includes most establishments in hotels and private clubs.

A bit vague to say the least.

I don't suppose confusion (relating to almost any subject) could be a deliberate policy could it? To have us throwing up our hands in frustration and putting up with the staus quo?

Surely not?

Today's story from The National is here.

The earlier Gulf News story is here.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bounced cheques committee

Only a few weeks ago a decree was issued setting up a judicial committee to settle disputes over bounced cheques relating to property in Dubai.

With speed that surprises me the bounced cheques committee will apparently be ready to start hearing cases in the next two weeks.

It's a huge and welcome move away from the existing 'go to jail' system.

The committee has a lot of power too.

The decree says that Public Prosecution and courts can't carry out any investigation or issue any ruling relating to bounced property cheques until the case is looked into by the committee.

It also says that judgments pronounced by the committee will be decisive and cannot be challenged. They'll be implemented through the execution department of the Dubai Courts.

They're going to be busy - they say that over 500 cases have already been transferred to them by Jebel Ali police station.

EmBiz 247 has the story here.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The 'service charge' debate

The 'service charge' from many restaurants which we now know is illegal has become the current big talking point around town.

There are two particular comments that I've heard over and over again.

The first is that the restaurants will simply raise their prices. In fact that was the first comment, from Rami, left on my original post on the service charges.

It misses the point in my opinion.

I don't object to paying for my food, I object to the cost being hidden, disguised, misrepresented.

I said in the post: "Generally speaking it's simply a way of charging more for the food than the price shown on the menu and that's dishonest."

Grumpy Goat in response to Rami's comment : "Personally I prefer for the price you see to be the same as the price you pay - and sticking a tiny footer at the bottom of the menu explaining that there's a 15% on-cost is disingenuous at best."

That's exactly the point. The price is shown on the menu as, let's say, Dh50 but in fact the 'service charge' means you pay anything between Dh55 and Dh65.

If that's what you're going to charge for the dish then be honest and say so.

I fully subscribe to the second comment being made; why has this illegal activity been allowed to continue for so long?

The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection said that under Consumer Protection law 24, 2006, restaurants are not allowed to add any service charge to a bill.

Law 24 of 2006.

We're a couple of days away from 2010.

There's another aspect of this which I don't understand. I quote today's Gulf News report:

A senior official at the Dubai Economic Development Department told Gulf News: "According to the consumer protection law restaurants are not allowed to add service charge to a bill. Once we receive the bylaw we will immediately inform the restaurants to stop this illegal practice which they carried out for more than three years. The bylaw will be issued in a couple of weeks."

A law was passed which can't be enacted until a by-law is issued - which it hasn't been for more than three years.

Any legal experts reading this who can explain that to me?

Another decision I don't understand is this: However, he said restaurants will be given a grace period to adjust their accounting and bill system before implementing the rule.

The length of the grace period wasn't specified.

If it's illegal it's illegal. Adjusting the till can't take more than a few minutes can it?

It sounds like another attempt at ignoring something in the hope that it'll go away. This won't though.

The Gulf News stories start here.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Restaurant 'service charges' illegal

Something I've always disliked is the so-called 'service charge' on restaurant bills.

The assumption has generally been that the 'service charge' goes to the staff as tips but the reality is very different. In a few establishments it does go to the staff. In others only a percentage goes to staff. In yet others the owner simply keeps it.

Generally speaking it's simply a way of charging more for the food than the price shown on the menu and that's dishonest.

The 'service charge' culture has crept in here over the past couple of years but it's now been declared illegal.

The Supreme Committee for Consumer Protection has just held its fourth meeting of the year under the chairmanship of H.E. Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy.

WAM reports: "The Committee warned restaurants against the illegal service charges. This followed several complaints received by the Ministry of Economy that some restaurants were charging as much as 5 to 20 per cent of the bill as service charge, which the Committee said is against the consumer protection law number 26 for year 2006. Al Mansouri said that the Ministry will take serious measures against those who violate the law."


The WAM story is here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas in Oz

Idling away a few moments I went to the ABC website to see what was happening in Oz.

I wish I hadn't bothered. What a depressing list of stories. Here's a copy & paste of what I found:

Australia - Top Stories

Christmas rains prompt flood warning
Posted 3 hours 11 minutes ago Updated 2 hours 40 minutes ago
A severe weather warning has been issued for flash flooding in parts of New South Wales as widespread rain continues across the state.

Man dies in hospital after police shooting
Posted 4 hours 11 minutes ago
A man has died in hospital after being shot by police on the NSW central coast.

Fisherman hit by wave and killed
Posted 6 hours 58 minutes ago Updated 5 hours 51 minutes ago
A man has died after he was hit by a large wave and hit his head on rocks off Cape Schanck on Victoria's Mornington Peninsula.

Boy impaled on fence in bike accident
Posted 7 hours 44 minutes ago Updated 6 hours 52 minutes ago
A boy is undergoing surgery in Brisbane after he was impaled on a fence on Queensland's Darling Downs.

Pregnant woman hit by car
Posted 9 hours 47 minutes ago
A pregnant woman has been flown to hospital with serious injuries after being hit by a car on the New South Wales central coast.

Flood watch widened for NSW communities
Posted 11 hours 2 minutes ago Updated 10 hours 55 minutes ago
A severe weather warning has been extended to include Orange, Bathurst and Molong in central-west NSW.

Speedboat driver questioned over swimmer's death
Posted Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:20am AEDT Updated Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:35am AEDT
Police have interviewed a man they believe was operating a speedboat which struck and killed a swimmer in the Murray River yesterday.

Police badly hurt in massive brawl
Posted Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:08am AEDT Updated 11 hours 13 minutes ago
Two police officers have been injured, one seriously, in a brawl involving up to 80 people in Western Australia's north.

Rain douses fire threat in Victoria
Posted Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:03am AEDT Updated Fri Dec 25, 2009 11:16am AEDT
Good overnight rain has eased the fire threat in Victoria's East Gippsland region.

Man saves parents from burning bedroom
Posted Fri Dec 25, 2009 10:01am AEDT
A man has rescued his parents from their burning bedroom in Adelaide's northern suburbs early today.

The tip of the iceberg too. Not a good Christmas for so many people...

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Surprise! The rumours are wrong

Dubai has a much more active rumour mill than anywhere else I've lived. It's always been the same and many of the rumours are simply recycled old ones.

For example, I remember when the Trade Centre opened there were rumours that it was falling over. And the then-new Shindagah Tunnel was about to collapse. Both are still there, in good order, so the same rumours have been transferred to new projects.

There are two current persistent rumours that I can shoot down, relating to the Al Sufouh Tram and the Metro stations.

First the tram. Rumour has it that the RTA has run out of money so work on the tram system has stopped and thousands of workers have been sent home.

In fact the work is continuing as before.

Every day I see trucks delivering concrete parts for the elevated section, which is being completed at a fast pace...

Then the Metro. Word is that the contractor has stopped work on all the stations as he hasn't been paid.

In fact work is continuing as normal...

Monday, December 21, 2009

A different pace Part 3

I've posted a couple of times about the slow pace of construction work in Oz compared to Dubai, with the upgrading of our street as an example.

The street is more like a country lane:

Seven years ago the council decided to put in underground drains, a kerb and a footpath, which also meant doing a bit of landscaping when they'd finished. You can see the grass they planted in the areas where the curb has been finished.

In seven years they managed to get about a kilometre done and got up to our house, which at the end of October looked like this:

Yesterday my neighbour told me the 'workmen' had now stopped for their three week Christmas/New Year holiday and he sent me updated photographs.

The've done a better job than I expected, but to get from the previous photograph to this has taken two months...

When they come back in three weeks they have to finish the wall on the right then do the same for the four more houses to the end of the street.

Then they have to resurface the road.

I'm guessing March.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Catching up

The past couple of days have been spent with Dilip retrieving various file from my computer after the virus got in and stuffed it. He's getting the files out without bringing the virus with them.

So far so good, we've managed to find some of the e-mail stuff that I hadn't got around to backing-up so, for example, I've found some of the e-mail addresses I thought I'd lost. I'm gradually rebuilding the address book, and also putting sites back into Favourites. There's also softwear to re-install so it's all taking a lot of time.

That's delayed me following on from the Abu Dhabi rescue story, which I wanted to do a few days ago.

The rescue attracted the usual comments about AD grabbing Dubai's assets, such as Emirates, in return, but I don't subscribe to that theory.

Even in the unlikely event that it happened we wouldn't know about it anyway. It would be done quietly behind closed doors. But I don't think for one moment it will happen.

The only real long-shot is a merger between Emirates and Etihad to make a true national airline. But I don't even see that happening. They're both strong international brands which billions have gone into building and to compromise that would be a ridiculous business decision.

Another real long-shot would be an Al Nahyan on the board of Dubai World to make sure the restructuring is done to their satisfaction - but again I don't see it as a realistic possibility.

The deal was a straight commercial one, $10 billion over five years at 4% interest are the reports.

Additionally, AD doesn't need the money. They pump about 2.7 million barrels of oil a day which at about $7o a barrel is getting on for $70 billion a year. That makes the profits from companies such as Emirates, Dubal, Ducab, Jumeirah relatively trifling.

When people have enough money what want is power and that's what I think AD will want in return for helping the other emirates. Less independence for individual emirates with more federal (meaning Abu Dhabi) influence over events, laws, conduct.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Done by a virus

Chaos at the Seabee computer.

A bloody virus got past the protection and destroyed everything.

Throw it away and buy a new one was my immediate thought but Mrs Seabee called the computer wizard she uses for her office machines. He came round yesterday evening, accessed places I had no idea existed, did whatever it was he did and here I am back in cyberspace.

The next couple of days are going to be taken up trying to put all the stuff back in that was destroyed, like favourites and contacts. I'm having to find all my user names and passwords too so it's taking a while.

Fortunately I back up most of the important stuff with a pen on paper, so I haven't lost it. Being old-fashioned can be a blessing.

I lost all my e-mail folders though, and I hadn't pen&papered all my contact addresses. Idiot! I'll have to wait for friends and family to send me e-mails so that I can get their addresses. This time they go in the book as soon as they arrive.

We, or rather he, managed to retrieve my photograph files. I'd been meaning to back them up for ages, but hadn't got around to it. You know how it is.

By the way, his name is Dilip, he's highly recommended if you have a problem. He forgot to leave his card and I can't raise Mrs Seabee on the phone so I can't give you his contact details at the moment. I'll do that in a follow-up post just in case you ever need him.

Anybody want to join a vigilante group to hunt down and deal with the bastards who create and spread viruses? I'm getting some satisfaction from planning what I'll do with them if we ever catch them.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Abu Dhabi in last minute rescue

Today is when the Nakheel $4.1 billion sukuk, or Islamic bond, is due for payment.

It's the big one. It's been the focus of much international attention since the global slump hit Dubai, attention which reached fever pitch about three weeks ago when Dubai's government said it was seeking a delay in payment of Dubai World companies' debts.

I posted about that here with links to some of the international reactions.

It had been assumed by investors and commentators that the debts of Dubai government related or owned companies were guaranteed by the government. And ultimately by oil-rich Abu Dhabi if necessary.

But both governments said that there had never been such a guarantee.

Abu Dhabi went further and said that they would 'pick and choose' which companies they supported.

Non payment would mean default, legal action to seize assets has been threatened, the whole Islamic bond industry was under a cloud...and today's the day.

A couple of hours ago the Emirates news agency WAM issued a statement from Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in his capacity as Chairman of the Dubai Supreme Fiscal Committee.

"The Government of Abu Dhabi has agreed to fund $10 billion to the Dubai Financial Support Fund that will be used to satisfy a series of upcoming obligations on Dubai World.

As a first action for the new fund, the Government of Dubai has authorized $4.1 billion to be used to pay the sukuk obligations that are due today. The remaining funds would also provide for interest expenses and company working capital through April 30, 2010..."



By the way, BBC World Service news says that there are no conditions on the $10 billion.


The announcement in full is here.

Torture video case - into the land of the bizarre.

A quick recap. Back in April, after the infamous 'torture tape' involving Sheikh Eisa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan and an Afghan merchant hit the international headlines, it was reported that the Human Rights Office of the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department would conduct an immediate and comprehensive review and make its findings public at the earliest opportunity.

I posted about that, with links to a couple of the international media reports on the tape so if you don't know the details you can go to the post and the links here.

I've been wondering what had happened and now it appears that the review must have been finished. In the Al Ain Criminal Court of First Instance Sheikh Eisa has pleaded not guilty to charges of assault and endangering the life of the Afghan.

That's when it starts getting bizarre.

The victim says he's been defamed because the video was made public without his permission.

It was released by the sheik's former partner and the Afghan merchant has lodged a criminal and civil case against him, accusing him of defamation by airing the video on the internet without his approval.

The physical damage is irrelevant, it's the defamation by publicising it that's the problem.

I need to think about that.

I thought the 'look what you made me do' defence was interesting too.

The defence says that the former partner and his brother set the whole thing up as a blackmail scam.

They plotted the incident to drug the sheikh and cause him to commit the alleged beating and videotape it for blackmailing purposes. They gave him more than sixty drugs over a long period which caused him to lose free will, lose self-control and lose his memory. They then demanded millions of dollars to destroy the video.

I'll be following this one with great interest.

Gulf News has the latest report here.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Proper rain.

A few spots for the last couple of days but today so far it hasn't stopped. At 7.30 this morning it was like this:

...and it still is. If anything it's darker and more gloomy now at just after 2pm

I haven't driven far, seen no crashes and no real flooding.

There are ponds of water on the roads in the usual places around Knowledge Village and Dubai Marina and we have a new location for temporary ponds, Dubai Marina Mall.

Not deep but there's a lot of water all around the entrance and the gangs are out with their brooms trying to sweep it away. Some chance with it still pouring down.

The radio has been reporting plenty of crashes around the UAE and I'm not surprised. Although I haven't seen a crash today people are driving as they usually do, no consideration, talking on the phone, pulling out in front of oncoming traffic, speeding - all the usual stuff.

Blissfully unaware that the conditions are different, that they're likely to hit a fifteen centimetre deep pond that's going to send them careering all over the place.

I'm hiding indoors.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I got rain!

I know other parts of the country have had rain but I haven't seen any since last winter some time.

Today I saw some. A short shower, nothing more. A few damp spots on the ground.

By the time I got the photo uploaded and on here, not more than ten minutes, the ground was dry again. Not enough to wash the sand and dust away I'm afraid but it's cloudy and dark so maybe we'll get more...

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

A stay indoors day

There's a seven star icon somewhere in this pic:

Gloomy, dusty, sandy, horrible:

And not for the first time in weather like this I was puzzled to see several joggers out, sucking in large amounts of dust and sand. Their health would be better served if they cancelled the jogging on days like this.

And talking about the weather, it's not good back home either. The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting:

NSW is bracing itself for extreme weather conditions today, with a total fire ban in place for much of the state, and a catastrophic fire warning declared in the Central West.

A top of 40 degrees has been forecast for Sydney's west, with similar temperatures predicted in northern NSW and the Central West.

The Rural Fire Service said that, apart from the hot weather, westerly winds of up to 50km/h were expected to trouble firefighters.

"We've got some quite dangerous fire weather moving through the state," RFS spokesman Ben Shephard said."

Extreme fire warnings are in place for several areas including Greater Sydney with other large areas having Catastrophic fire warnings in place.

Currently, over 100 fires are burning in NSW with 35 'uncontained'.

A different view

Back in February I posted about the changing view from apartments in Dubai Marina. Far from the views buyers expected when they bought off-plan.

The original plans for the Marina, and the city in general, are changed so often that this isn't unusual.

There've been many changes to the original master plan for Dubai Marina and as a result people paying a premium for views often ended up with something very different or even no view.

A big change for some buyers was the introduction of the Metro. For example, the station at JLT was built with its pedestrian bridge across Sheikh Zayed Road to Dubai Marina. Very convenient it will be too, when the station is opened.

I'm not sure the buyers of these apartments will be happy with the convenience though. On the plan they would have seen there was nothing between them and Jumeirah Lake Towers. A nice open space with not a bad view.

Not now:

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Preserve, renovate, rebuild?

The other day I took the Metro into Bur Dubai and then had to go across into Deira, so naturally I walked down to the Creek and took the abra across.

The walk took me through Bastakiya, the original part of Dubai that's being 'preserved' by the Municipality.

I'd been in Old Town at Burj Dubai the day before and as I walked through Bastakiya I was comparing the two areas in my mind, and remembering what the old parts of town had been like when I was first here in 1977.

I always carry a little pocket digital camera with me, so I'd taken some photographs in Old Town and I took more in Bastakiya.

I've been rummaging through the few 'old Dubai' shots I have with me - the majority are in store back in Oz - and I'll start with a couple of those, taken in 1978.

Looking across from Deira, it used to be like this:

In both Bur Dubai and Deira there were still plenty of the old buildings, complete with their windtowers, barjeel in Arabic. They were a kind of air-conditioning system, long before electricity was available. They caught the breeze and directed it down into the house.

Narrow alleyways and sand rather than paved footpaths, easy to walk on though because it had been trodden down so hard over the years.

The buildings were basically mud walled, reinforced with lumps of coral. Some of that has been preserved in the renovated Bastakiya, but only in small patches:

Some of the restoration work looks almost authentic:

But a lot of it doesn't. It's all too neat and tidy, there's far too much very obvious concrete, the footpaths are very modern, even in the narrow alleyway sections:

And a lot of it looks, well, modern:

In a strange way the brand new Old Town at Burj Dubai almost feels more authentically old than Bastakiya:

I wonder what the Bastakiya 'preservation' thinking is.

The old buildings presumably couldn't be renovated and preserved, they weren't bult of material that would lend itself to that. But I think it's a shame that the final finish on the buildings, the veneer, doesn't look older, doesn't look more like the original buildings. The modern paved walkways could have been much more like the original alleyways too.

Having said that, it's still an area well worth a visit. There are plenty of interesting little art galleries, museums, restaurants for example, all housed in the recreated buildings. In that sense the Municipality has done a great job, it's a fascinating area to spend time exploring.

Friday, December 04, 2009

The real problem

"It's not the problem that's the problem, it's how you handle the problem that's the problem."

An old truism, which I've been preaching to colleagues and clients for as long as I can remember. I believe it's one of the most important rules in business.

An example. I worked for a hotel group and was in a restaurant of one of our hotels when a waiter slipped and tipped a drink over a customer.

The manageress immediately hurried over with a clean, dry cloth and gave it to the customer. She apologised, said his meal would be on the house, asked him to drop the suit off at Reception, it would be dry-cleaned at no cost and returned the next day.

In a few seconds a possible problem was replaced by a positive outcome. The customer would only remember the drink spilling in the context of how well the hotel had handled the incident. A plus for the brand.

The most important thing you have in business is the brand.

It's hard work to build the brand image and its positioning, to instil a good feeling about it in the mind of users and potential users.

But to damage or destroy it is the easiest thing in the world.

There's a fairly recent absolute classic of how quickly a brand can be destroyed, which gave rise to the phrase 'Doing a Ratner'.

Gerald Ratner was CEO of a successful family chain of discount jewellers in the UK. Discounted but believed to be good value for money. A good brand image.

Then he made a speech to the Institute of Directors, which was picked up by the media.

He said the brand's products could be sold at low prices because 'it's total crap' and he went on to say that some items were 'cheaper than a Marks & Spencer prawn sandwich but probably wouldn't last as long'.

Damage to the brand? The share value fell by about half a billion pounds Sterling, the company almost collapsed. Share price had been at a high of 400 pence went as low as 9.5 pence, sales plummeted, investor dividends disappeared.

Gerald Ratner went but the damage was done. He'd been in charge for 25 years but destroyed it all in a few minutes.

I relate these stories because we currently have two examples of damage to a previously strong brand running in the media.

Very different stories but the difference demonstrates the truth of the saying and that it applies to any brand, whatever the business.

The subjects of course are Tiger Woods Brand and Brand Dubai.

Tiger Woods Brand is worth a huge amount of money, a large amount of its value based on a perception of perfection, unrealistic but that's what people tend to do.

After the row with Mrs Woods and subsequent minor car prang the damage to the brand began.

He hired a criminal attorney, refused to talk to the police and made no public statement.

The rumour mill went into overdrive, in the mainstream media and the blogosphere, and those actions added to the rumours. I haven't heard any jokes but I'm sure there must be hundreds.

He stayed silent for several days, and by the time he eventually made a statement the damage was already done.

The problem was the way the problem was handled.

Dubai World, although a very different story, is a similar example of the real problem being the way the problem was handled, which has resulted in damage to the brand.

I've already posted about the mishandling.

Brand Dubai has been built for decades on the basis of being a great business centre, perfectly located and commercially astute. A city with a long and succesful commercial history, a place where it was safe to do business, where the business people really knew how to run successful companies. Brand Dubai meant successful, safe investing.

As a result of the mishandling of Dubai World's debt restructuring and how it was announced we're now seeing things like this said in the world's media about Dubai:

"Dubai default...Dubai debt meltdown...Dubai financial crisis...bloodbath...risked triggering the biggest sovereign default since is now so swamped in debt that it's asking for a six-month reprieve...shock announcement that a debt-laden Dubai state corporation was unable to meet its interest bill...Dubai cast adrift as credibility crumbles...Dubai's financial health is under scrutiny"

OK, it was inaccurate, it was unnecessary blind panic, it was a misunderstanding of the status of Dubai World, it was lack of knowledge of how much debt was the subject of the announcement, of how much it was relative to the amount of debt in the world. But those reactions were caused by the mishandling of the situation in Dubai. Had the old saying been remembered the fallout would have been very different and without damage to Brand Dubai

If you are a potential investor, publicity like that will make you pause and rethink. If you are a financial institution you'll look much more carefully at Dubai companies requesting loans or offering bonds. There are plenty of other places around the world competing for your investment and loans.

However successful you are, however well you've built your brand, however long it's taken to build it to where it is today, make a mistake in handling a problem and you can damage it instantly. It can take years to regain the reputation and it can even end up as permanent damage.

Thursday, December 03, 2009

National Day 38

Back in the late seventies I never heard the word Emirati, I'm not even sure it existed. People identified themselves as from Dubai or Sharjah or Abu Dhabi. The UAE was a fact but people still identified with their emirate first.

The flags flying in Dubai were the emirate's red and white, as in this shot I took of dhows on the Creek in 1978, rather than the national flag:

How things have changed.

Last evening at The Walk at Jumeirah Beach Residence there was plenty of evidence that people now identify with the country.

Car after car was decorated:

Even the cartoon characters' carers had patriotic safety jackets on:

There were plenty of abayas and shaylas with red, green and white decoration and more than a few of the kids were wearing the kind of clothing I'd seen in Satwa the week before:

I think it's an interesting and dramatic change in a relatively short period.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Removing abandoned cars

On my regular route through Dubai Marina I pass four obviously abandoned cars.

Dust on cars is normal of course and when people are on holiday for a month it starts to really build up. But the abandoned ones are obvious because the dust is really thick and graffiti starts to appear in it.

They just stay where they are, the authorities seem not to be active in this area removing them, like the BMW I posted about here.

Things may be improving though:

Here's the sticker on the windscreen:

Apart from the fact that's it's the first infringement notice I've seen in this area, the department involved caught my attention.

Not the police, as I'd assumed it would be, but the Waste Management Department.

They're on the ball on this one too, it can't have been left too long ago. The only fine, for Salik, is on July 16.