The process is not difficult but it helps to have help!
Haji was a friend and colleague. Dubai born and bred, he had been an Engine Driver on small Oil Tankers trading in the Gulf and then on Harbour Tugs at Port Rashid. Haji was unflustered by any event and dealt with people in a calm, friendly and respectful way. Those qualities were recognised. He was given responsibility for registering Port Rashid's plant and vehicles with Dubai Police. Haji took upon himself the responsibility of helping renew his Colleagues' Dubai Driving Licences.
Haji was a courtesy title earned after completing his Haj Pilgrimage. But "Haji" was how he was known by Dubaians and Expatriates alike. When Haji called me I knew why. My Dubai Driving Licence was due for renewal. Haji appeared with completed forms just needing my signature. I signed. He said he would call later. Two days later he drove me to Dubai Police Station for my eye test. An Eye Test was not a problem although I did wear spectacles. For some it was more of a Memory Test trying to remember the position of the Eye Chart symbols from the last time they failed the test. It was always the same Eye Chart. Haji told me to wait outside the Eye Test Room. He went inside. Soon the door opened and Haji beckoned me inside. I was warmly greeted by a young Policeman smartly turned out in a well pressed uniform. We shook hands. The Policeman smiled. "This is the Eye Test in Charge" Haji informed me "He is my son".
I had no difficulty in passing the eye test. Haji and I moved to the Driving Licence Section. He told me to sit and wait while he completed formalities. I found a vacant seat. It overlooked the long queue stretching from the Driving Licence Renewal Counter to the Entrance. Haji ignored the queue. He went direct to the Driving Renewal Licence Counter, reached through the small hole in the Counter Screen and shook every Policeman's hand he could reach. Each had a short conversation with Haji. My papers were passed to one of these Policemen. Haji stood aside. Others were arriving at the head of the queue to do what Haji had just done.
Sitting on my seat I became aware the queue was slowly moving. Not from right to left towards the Counter but from left to right towards the Entrance. The queue was moving backwards! Fifteen minutes or so later Haji appeared with my renewed Dubai Driving Licence. As I said earlier, renewing your Driving Licence in Dubai as it used to be was not difficult but it helped to have help - particularly if it was Haji.
Dubai Police asked me that question over the telephone one morning. My answer was "Yes". I had recently won my Rangerover in a raffle - the first car raffle in Dubai or more accurately Sharjah since it was organised by Sharjah Wanderers Club. My boss had two secretaries. I bought a ticket from each secretary although I never worked out which one sold me the winning ticket. Winning the Rangerover was good news except it was white (my wife hates white cars) with a manual gearbox (I much prefer automatic). Instructions were to come to Police Headquarters immediately. The question they didn't ask was "Were you involved in a Hit and Run accident last night?" They would ask that question at the Police Station. A white RangeRover had probably hit someone or something last night but the Police didn't know which white Rangerover. Their usual solution was to question everyone who owned that type of car. My answer would be "No" but it was worrying nevertheless so I called Haji.
Haji drove me to Police Headquarters on Sharjah Road. He greeted all the Policemen on the Reception Desk and had animated conversations with them all. Occassionally a knowing glance was sent in my direction. Eventually Haji beckoned me to follow him down a corridor. He read the label on each door until he found the door he wanted, knocked and waited for the call to enter. We both went in. The Officer immediately left his desk to meet us. Haji and he warmly embraced each other in a "Bear Hug", both muttering polite enquiries about their respective families' well being. That done, they parted and Haji introduced me to the Officer. "This is the Officer in Charge of Traffic Accident Investigations" Haji told me "He is my cousin." We sat down to enjoy tea and coffee. The Officer in Charge of Traffic Investigations was amused by my story of winning a Rangerover. With our tea and coffee finished Haji nodded to me, we shook hands with the Officer and left.
Come to think of I was never asked if I had been involved in a Hit and Run accident. As I said before it certainly helped to have help in these matters - particularly if it was Haji.