Bahrain makes second attempt to revoke expat driving licenses

Published:  14 Jun at 6 PM
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Tagged: Dubai
Following the failure in 2014 of a similar effort, a Bahraini municipal authority is again attempting to cancel the driving licenses of expats working in the emirate.

The first attempt failed when Bahrain’s Constitutional Court ruled the measure was discriminatory and unconstitutional, but a loophole in the court’s reasoning allowed a driving ban provided it targeted those in specific employment categories. As a result, Muharraq Municipal Council has now approved a proposal banning driving for expatriates in certain categories, thus allowing the ban to be referred to the emirate’s Interior Ministry for further consideration.

The given reason behind the resurrected ban was traffic congestion, widely believed to be caused by the Bahraini preference for owning two cars rather than the usual one. More than half the 650,000 registered cars clogging up the roads are driven by expatriate workers, simply because taxis are expensive and public transport is sparse and slow. However, one municipal councillor is claiming expats buy ancient, unsafe, rusty, ugly vehicles on the cheap, making the average Bahraini feel like vomiting when he sees one.

Expats living and working in Kuwait will possibly feel slightly happier about the emirate’s new arrangements for expat healthcare insurance after they read an announcement by minister Dr Jamal al-Harbi which states ‘tumors, cardiac services, dental fittings and knee services’ will now be included in the tender. According to an assistant undersecretary, the tender is soon to be put up for public bidding, and the increased charges will be aimed at visiting expats in the first instance.

Meanwhile in Dubai, one expat’s generosity is helping young, poverty-stricken would-be photographic journalists in Egypt by awarding 23 cameras to the winners of a Twitter pic and aspirations contest. He began the online campaign in memory of his own story of being gifted a camera he couldn’t afford to buy when he was starting his own career. The online photos, plus descriptions of the young photographers’ aspirations, will be judged by the number of ‘likes’ they receive, with the top 23 receiving the cameras of their dreams.
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