Irregularly acquired vehicles

OK, I’ll put you out of your misery.

When I took on my current job in 2002, we had an office in Sarajevo which had been opened in 1996 by Sir X Y, a former British diplomat with an enthusiasm for Arabic and hunting dogs. In 1996, government registration of vehicles was a rather grey area in Bosnia, it not being awfully clear which government precisely had the authority to register them, especially perhaps if you were used to a different working environment than that of a newly opened NGO. This meant that when I came on the scene six years later, I had the problem of inheriting several vehicles which, while perfectly serviceable, could not even be insured to drive them off the parking lot because we could not prove that we owned them and had acquired them legally to the satisfaction of local insurance companies.

In the end we sold them to a member of the local security forces who told us that he had a solution to the insurance problem and that he planned to drive them on his country estate, therefore private property and not requiring some of these pesky technicalities to be sorted out. I am absolutely sure that he did as he promised, and there is no way that he sold them on at a higher price to people in any nearby jurisdiction where it is easier to get vehicles regularised if you happen to have lost some of the papers. And anyway, it is none of my business if he did.

We still have a problem in one of our offices, which is not properly registered in the country where it operates (due to certain serious deficiencies in the local legislative provisions for non-governmental organisations), so we bought and registered a car in Belgium and drove it to the field. Now, of course, the problem is that it ought to physically return to Belgium every year for its “contrôle technique” (Belgian MOT) and other bureaucracy. This is immensely hassling, but is actually less complicated and time-consuming than trying to officially import it into the country where it spends most of its time.

This stuff really does give me grey hairs, far more so than the political disputes that we get into from time to time. By far the most dangerous activity that any of my staff engage in for work purposes is driving. The consequences of a crash in the middle of nowhere in a car that wasn’t properly insured, and the potential legal liabilities for my organisation, are pretty horrible to contemplate. I hope it never happens.

One thought on “Irregularly acquired vehicles

  1. Yeah, I like this one too, although it does continue a bit of a trend from the VNA’s that I wasn’t wild about (even in the good ones), of the Doctor being incapacitated for a large portion of the book and only coming out of it in the third act in time to kick butt.

    This is the sort of thing Cartmel and his crew were trying to redress to some degree in the last couple years of the classic series, and it seems a bit at odds with the characterization they had in mind for the Seventh Doctor especially. That said, it’s certainly good to Seven up against you-know-who and the Victorian atmosphere is nicely handled along with Ian/Barbara and the alternate history.


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