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PFP requests public meeting to vote on President of Parliament. UD, UP, USP and Emmanuel sign on

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Stemming from the recently leaked, controversial statements of President of Parliament Rolando Brison, Party for Progress (PFP) Members of Parliament (MPs) Melissa Gumbs and Raeyhon Peterson have called on MP Brison to resign from his position. If he does not comply, the PFP MPs have submitted a request for an urgent public meeting on the issue, where Parliament can officially remove MP Brison with a majority vote.

Before submitting the request, MP Gumbs called a meeting of faction leaders on Monday afternoon, November 1, 2021, to discuss the matter directly with MP Brison. In addition to MP Gumbs, four other faction leaders signed on to the public meeting request. These are MP Grisha Heyliger-Marten of United People’s (UP) Party, MP Claudius Buncamper of United Sint Maarten Party (USP), Independent MP Christophe Emmanuel, and MP Sarah Wescot-Williams of United Democrats (UD).

The public meeting is to be called no later than Friday, November 5, 2021, and MPs would vote on removing MP Brison from the position of President of Parliament. If passed, Brison would still remain a Member of Parliament.

In the controversial voice clip - which circulated widely on social media on Friday, October 29, 2021 - Brison could be heard talking about “making deals” with “the young boys” in National Alliance (NA) and how current Minister of Public Housing, Spatial Planning, Environment and Infrastructure (VROMI) Egbert Doran will not comply with the Motion of Disapproval passed against him. Brison also openly spoke of MP Heyliger-Marten not being able to receive a permit because of her recent stances in opposition to the Government.

MPs Gumbs and Peterson have condemned these statements, characterizing them as unacceptable, disrespectful and a threat to our democratic processes.

“While much of the focus has been on the insults to that MP, this goes deeper than that. The statements clearly show that our President of Parliament is okay with Ministers ignoring Parliament’s instructions and using their office for personal and political retribution and intimidation. I am not okay with that and I have expressed this directly to MP Brison,” said MP Gumbs. “If it were only insults, we could have accepted an apology. But there are also insinuations of collusion, nepotism, and the shadowy interests of third parties. The President of Parliament has demonstrated that he is fine with some persons in the coalition violating the principles of good governance and trampling on our democratic processes. As a leader of this country, this is unforgivable.”

“The PFP faction is committed to good governance and accountability among our elected and appointed officials. This is why we submitted the Motion of Disapproval against Minister Doran, to ensure that there is a fair and objective process in the distribution of long-lease land in the Over The Bank area. The motion was passed with a substantial majority and all the factions leaders, including MP Brison’s faction leader, voted in favour,” said MP Peterson. “Ensuring accountability is the same motivation we have in calling for the MP’s resignation as Chairman. The President of Parliament is tasked with a certain level of complete objectivity at all times, in public and in private, and this does not only count for MP Brison, but for anyone who wishes to take up the role of President of Parliament. If they cannot, then the PFP faction is ready to take the necessary steps.”

“This evolving scandal is not about MP Brison’s role as a representative of his political party, but his role as the head of Parliament, the people’s highest representative body,” explained MP Peterson. “The people deserve to have a President of Parliament that respects the authority of Parliament as a check on Government’s power. This is more important than what was signed on to in a coalition agreement. ”

The PFP MPs do not believe that this matter is an internal party conflict, as mentioned by MP Heyliger-Marten in a press statement over the weeked and Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs in a radio interview on Monday morning.  

“As such, it is the people’s representatives who need to decide on how to handle this breach of public trust and confidence, not the individual party boards,” said MP Gumbs. “It is a stain on our country for the President of Parliament to openly enable certain Ministers to avoid accountability to Parliament and to continue their wrongdoing. I urge my fellow MPs to join this faction in cleaning up the stains.”

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Governor Holiday: Stay True to You, Your Choice and Your Training

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – His Excellency Governor drs. Eugene Holiday made the following remarks during the graduation ceremony on Friday of the Police Cadets of the Class of 2018. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good morning,

And a very special good morning and congratulations to the graduating Class of 2018.  In the next few moments, you will be promoted from cadets to officers. Congratulations to officer:

  • Kimberly Brown
  • Shannathey Cathalina
  • Marcos Henrietta
  • Shirley Hughes
  • Tatiana Hyman
  • Janica Jones
  • Randell Macnack
  • Raymond Martes Stroop
  • Franklin Mathew
  • Joel Labady
  • Denzel Levinstone
  • Suini Pantophlet, and
  • Sabina Sabroche

And congratulations to your parents who I am sure have instilled in you the values required to take on this profession.

In choosing to be police officers you have chosen the noble profession of law enforcement. You have chosen to join the law enforcement community, a special and essential group of professionals. Each of you may have different reasons for making your choice. But whatever your reason I am thankful to all of you for choosing this profession. For choosing to serve and protect our community. 

You have completed your Basic Police Education. You have been well prepared by your coaches and instructors from our Sint Maarten Police Force and from the Police Academy of the Netherlands. You have received a broad and all round training in law enforcement for police officers covering classroom subjects, such as criminal and civil law; skills and attitude training such as physical fitness, self-defense and service mindedness, and practical fieldwork, including the value of teamwork.

Your training has prepared you to be professional police officers. It has imparted and strengthened important values of discipline, respect, fairness, and honesty. Values that will guide you to master your work as police officers. I trust that you will internalize the lessons learned and values instilled in you during your training and that you will continuously reflect on, practice, and sharpen them as you take up your duties as police officers. 

It is no secret that we live in difficult and challenging times. Times are becoming more complex as our world becomes more global. Besides the problems of our own making, we increasingly face global threats from cross border crime, such as drug- and human trafficking, from climate change, such as stronger hurricanes, or from pandemics such as COVID-19.

Police officers are as a result on the frontline facing these threats and you will be expected to tackle increasingly difficult situations. You will have to mediate conflicts and to make split-second decision in life and death situations. Persons will challenge you and others will tempt you and test your character. And increasingly your decisions and actions will be questioned.

Taking on this challenging job takes courage and strength. As you encounter these situations, you ought to stay true to you, stay true to your choice, and stay true to the lessons learned and values instilled in you during your training. Always remember that it is your duty to uphold the law in service of the common good and that together, as part of the law enforcement team, you stand stronger with a much better chance to solve problems and make a difference in our community. A difference which manifests itself through the freedom, peace and order we enjoy in everyday life on Sint Maarten. This thanks to the essential work of our law enforcement community.

Members of the class of 2018 as you join the law enforcement community as members of the police force of Sint Maarten may each of you be blessed for your courage to take up this law enforcement challenge, blessed for the invaluable services you will provide and blessed for the sacrifices you will make on behalf of our Beloved and Sweet Sint Maarten land.

Today is a high point in your life and I hope that it will be followed by many more going forward. I wish each of you much success in you careers and expect to see you as leaders in law enforcement in the future. Once again congratulation to the Class of 2018.

Thank you.

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13 New Officers join KPSM Police Ranks

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Police Force of St. Maarten KPSM has added thirteen new police officers to its ranks with the graduation of the Basic Police Training BPO Class of 2018 on Friday morning.

The new officers took their oath before Justice Minister Anna Richardson in front of the Walter R. Kramers Building (Police Headquarters). They received their completion certificates from Chief Inspector R. Appelhof of the Netherlands Police Academy, and handed their epaulettes, signaling their change of rank from cadet to police officer, changed by their family members.

His Excellency the Governor of St. Maarten Drs. Eugene Holiday, Prime Minister the Honorable Silveria Jacobs and the Minister of Justice the Honorable Anna Richardson, Chief Prosecutor Mirjam Mol, and NAPB President Inspector R.E. Mauricia addressed the graduates. They wished them well in their chosen paths and expressed thanks to the graduates for taking up the call to serve in the justice field.

Police Chief Carl John, the rest of KPSM management team, and representatives of the Netherlands Police Academy congratulated all graduates on their academic achievements and warmly thanked the family members for their support for the officers during their training.

KPSM intends to continue to train its personnel to the highest possible level and to lay the foundation for the highest level of professional police service. Two other classes of recruits are undergoing the same intensive training, one class will sit their final exams at the end of this year.

The ceremony was also attended by other members of the Council of Ministers, Members of Parliament, government department heads, representatives of various associations and communities, fellow colleagues, relatives, and friends. (KPSM)

police new off ins2

police new off ins1

 

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Minister of VROMI Doran Approves Airport Terminal Reconstruction Permit

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY, (DCOMM) – The Minister of Public Housing, Environment, Spatial Planning, and Infrastructure (Ministry of VROMI) recently approved the permit for reconstruction of the terminal building at the Princess Juliana International Airport (PJIA).

The permit immediately authorizes all necessary modifications to the super-structure to realize its renovation and optimal functioning.

“The reconstruction of our airport is long overdue, and I am pleased that we arrived at the turning point of signatory approval.

“Signing that building permit gives me hope of a swift return to a fully operational airport in the very near future,” Minister Doran said on Thursday.

The minister added that the permit enables the execution of necessary concrete and steel works, constructing of walls and rooms, installation of elevators, escalators, and stairwells and other tasks of similar nature.

Ministry VROMI Minister Doran during recent visit to PJIA

Minister of VROMI Hon. Egbert Doran (5th from left) during a recent visit to PJIA; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brian Mingo (4th from left), Prime Minister Hon. Silveria Jacobs (6th from left) and other airport, contractor, and board representatives.

 

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Victorious Living Hosts Caribbean Stage At Lifestyle Medicine Summit on Wed

SINT MAARTEN (GREAT BAY) - Over 70% of deaths worldwide are related to non-communicable diseases (NCD) and they devastate individuals, families, communities, and countries’ healthcare systems.

Research shows that 90% of every healthcare dollar goes to treating people with chronic conditions. Moreover, 89% of those hospitalized with COVID had pre-existing conditions. Health care providers and patients are frustrated and agree that we need new evidence-based, innovative solutions proven to stop and reverse lifestyle-based chronic diseases.

Considering these startling statistics, Johannes Fisslinger, founder of Lifestyle Prescriptions University (LPU) has embarked on a commendable feat with his team to launch the virtual Lifestyle Medicine Summit which starts on Wednesday October 27th, 2021 until October 31st.

The Summit focuses on helping health care professionals to integrate lifestyle medicine in their practices so that more lives can be saved through prevention of chronic diseases; while helping health lovers to use the best practices to create healthy lifestyles.

Visionary of Victorious Living Foundation, Dr. N. Erna Mae Francis Cotton, and her husband Roy Cotton, Jr., host of the internationally syndicated radio show, Love & Inspiration, who studied Lifestyle Prescriptions Medicine Health Coaching at LPU have seen amazing results with the protocols learned at LPU. Consequently, they have teamed up with Fisslinger to host an interactive Caribbean stage at the Summit on October 31st.

The theme of the Caribbean stage is: “Making the Caribbean the Health Destination of the World.” The stage opens at 2:45 p.m. on October 31st with an introduction by the hosts Roy Cotton, Jr. and Dr. Erna Mae Francis Cotton; Talks by Dr. Emiko Bird-Lake, cardiologist at the St. Maarten Medical Center, Billie Sterling-Lewis, Counselling psychologist, Certified Life Coach, Author and Founder of EMPAC in Tobago, Honourable Priest Kailash Leonce, Visionary, Mount Kailash Rejuvenation Centre St. Lucia, and Dr. Arlene Rose Medical Doctor, Dermatologist, Author, Motivational Speaker, Jamaica. It all culminates with a panel discussion on what it will take to make the Caribbean the “Health and Wellness Destination” of the world.

You are invited to register for this free conference at www.victoriouslivingfoundation.com by going to the health page. You’ll get: 90+ World-Renowned Researchers, Experts & Best-Selling Authors; 70+ TED-style Live Talks (100% content); 18 Premium Live Workshops; 9 Live Interactive Stages; spread over 7 Continents and 3 Languages (English, Spanish, Arabic).

Be a part of the change as together we revolutionize our health care system.

Caribbean stage speakers

LIFESTYLE Speaker showcase banner final2 1080

 

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GRACITA: PARLIAMENT’S ELECTORAL REFORM AD-HOC COMMITTEE SLUMBERS

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the People’s Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell in a press statement on Sunday said: “A new political party was launched on the Constitutional Day October 10th, 2021. Regular Parliament elections are slated for 2024. The past, recent, and future shifts in our political arena demands a more active agenda of the Electoral reform ad- hoc committee comprising ten (10) of the fifteen (15) members of Parliament. Being elected to Parliament is a fulltime paid occupation.

‘The list of issues concerning electoral reform and electoral process preparations require the urgent action of this committee. These include however are not limited to the following areas of concern.

  1. Review/ amendment of the current election ordinance as it relates to e.g. the declaration of ‘independent’ members as proposed by Julio R Romney.
  2. Restoration of equal access to the voter’s registry for eligible political parties
  3. Improved privacy for voters list support.
  4. Reimburse fee to parties who do not win a seat in elections.
  5. Voting rights for students in the Netherlands.

Arrindell stated: “The issue of non-elected members who declare themselves ‘Independent’ with all consequences thereof, must be back on the Committee’s agenda.

“Mr. Julio R Romney presented to Parliament on several occasions his ‘draft election Ordinance Amendment Legislation that seeks to among others settle this long-standing concern of the voting population.”

Arrindell continues: “The second point of concern regards regaining access to the voter’s registry to All eligible political parties. Our Electoral ordinance (Kiesverordening AB no10.2010) stipulates that the Minister of General Affairs is charged with the proper maintenance of the voter’s registry, including persons eligible to vote. This registry is accessible electronically and includes information such as voter’s addresses and voting districts. The latter is important to have for the sake of effectively canvassing the voting districts. Prior to the enactment of the new electoral ordinance all Political parties received upon request and for a small fee, the voters list. In hard-copy later on a CD.

“In reality the Minister of General Affairs responsible for the Census office is or may be a candidate on a political slate, ‘privy’ to voter’s composition and location when all other political parties do not have access to same information. The Principle of Equality (gelijkheids -beginsel) in good governance is compromised. Review of the concerned regulation is warranted taking the privacy laws into consideration”.

Gracita Arrindell adds: “Thirdly, how can we improve the ‘signing of a party list’ process at the Census office? For example, greater privacy is needed of persons affixing their support for a (new) party to be able to participate in the next elections. Persons eligible to sign up for were not comfortable with the fact that one could see who signed which (party) list.

“Fourth issue concerns the reimbursement of two-thousand guilders (2000) Nafl. fee to political parties that won one (1) or more seats after an election. Contrary for parties who did not win one or more seats must return this total fee to the government coffers within a specified time. This requirement should be reconsidered. Political parties NOT acquiring a seat or more should be reimbursed. This reimbursement must go towards for example retirement of election-party debts and registered at the Electoral Council for transparency’s sake. Conversely, parties that WON should return the abovementioned fee to government coffers. This is fair, after all elected members move on to collect a full salary once appointed.”

The PPA Leader Arrindell further adds: “Last but not least, Sint Maarten’s students residing in the Netherlands must have the right to vote in Sint Maarten’s Parliament elections.

“In 2019 we made yet another plea to take necessary steps. Quote: ‘In the meantime we have constantly overlooked to secure the voting rights of the future citizens of Sint Maarten. Our students living in Holland must write out of the census in Sint Maarten and re-register at the municipality where they reside in Holland. Hundreds of students residing temporarily in the Netherlands, must be able to have a say in their future’. Our census information systems (with that of the Netherlands) are connected. This process can be reversed among others to allow our students in Holland to vote in Sint Maarten elections.

“The Minister of General Affairs (responsible for the census and for the minister plenipotentiary in the Hague, Netherlands) must make arrangements now to facilitate and formalize the voting rights of our students in the Netherlands.”

Gracita Arrindell concludes: “The ‘Sint Maarten House’ in The Hague can serve as the official voting location for our students in elections 2024. Between now and then is enough time to organize and correct this democratic deficit.

“Parliament’s Electoral Reform Committee must get off the slow-mode. The time is now time to debate and make the necessary changes to improve the integrity and transparency where lacking, in our electoral and constitutional processes,” the Leader of the PPA Gracita Arrindell concludes.

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Prime Minister Jacobs & GridMarket discuss approach for affordable energy generation

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - In keeping with government’s strategic initiative to have Sint Maarten transition to clean, resilient, and affordable energy generation, Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs met with representative of GridMarket on Tuesday, October 19, to discuss the first phase of approach where this project is concerned. 

This project is in collaboration with Island Resilience Partnership (IRP), the Ministries of General Affairs, VROMI, TEATT and Finance, as well as utility company NV GEBE. GridMarket is currently aggregating data and key information from government’s GIS system in order to put forth options for more sustainable energy for the people of Sint Maarten. 

Prime Minister Jacobs stated, “Several large areas have already been identified for this project and the recommendation is to have the production spread throughout the island. This will reduce the risk of having energy produced at one location such as the GEBE plant in Cay Bay. 

Sint Maarten is almost entirely dependent on imported oil, as such, it is imperative that we continue our commitment towards diversifying the market with options for renewable energy and a resilient infrastructure as outlined by SDG 7 - affordable and clean energy. By March 2022, we would be able to give a more clear indication as to what is possible for St. Maarten in order to provide more sustainable energy.” 

This transformation will align with the Build-Back-Better principle, allowing Sint Maarten to be resilient in the face of future natural disasters and accelerate its long-term climate mitigation and adaptation goals. All phases of this initiative, including final project bidding and vendor selection, will flow through the GridMarket platform.

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Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset Joins the Fight in Eradicating Polio

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - World Polio Day is October 24, and the members of the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset are taking action on this day to raise awareness, funds, and provide support towards the efforts of eradicating Polio, a vaccine-preventable disease that still threatens children in parts of the world today.  Poliomyelitis (Polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. 

When Rotary and its partners launched the Global Polio Eradication Initiative in 1988, there were 350,000 cases of polio in 125 countries every year. While on St. Martin and many other countries Polio is just an “ancient” virus, there are still many that are contracting and suffering from this still very live virus. We’ve made great progress against the disease since then. Today, polio cases have been reduced by 99.9 percent, and just two countries continue to report cases of wild poliovirus being Afghanistan and Pakistan, however, we remain committed to the end.

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset will mark historic progress toward a polio-free world while urging the community to help end the paralyzing disease. Eradicating Polio is a massive effort, therefore, the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset’s has launched an “End Polio Now Essay Competition”, for students in secondary schools. The theme for the essay competition is, "The Importance of Eradicating Polio". Essays are to be written in the English language with a word limit of 300 to 500 words. The essays must be sent in word document with the final date submission being Wednesday, October 20, 2021, via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This essay competition is for students ages 13 to 17. The winner will be announced on World Polio Day, Sunday, October 24th, 2021, via the club’s social media platform. Rotary Sunset strongly encourages the participation of our young people as they get an opportunity to win a table device while promoting the importance of eradicating Polio throughout the world.

 With Polio nearly eradicated, Rotary and its partners must sustain this progress and continue to reach every child with the Polio vaccine. Without full funding and political commitment, this paralyzing disease could return to Polio-free countries, putting children everywhere at risk. Rotary has committed to raising US$50 million each year to support global Polio eradication efforts. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation has pledged to match that 2-to-1, for a total yearly contribution of $150 million. Rotary has contributed more than $2.2 billion to ending polio since 1985, including donations by the Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset.  

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset would like to encourage the community to assist in eradicating Polio. Donations can be made at: https://www.endpolio.org/donate. These funds will help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents. 

The Rotary Club of St. Martin Sunset meets on the second and fourth Monday of the month at Carl N Sons Unique Inn and Conference Facilities in Cole Bay at 7:30pm. Due to COVID-19, the club currently meets via Zoom. The club can be contacted via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or via the official Facebook page at facebook.com/rotarysxmsunset.

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MP Duncan Launches Hope in Sight to Help Vulnerable Families

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – On Friday 22nd October 2021, Member of Parliament (MP) Ludmila Duncan launched her first annual Project: Hope in Sight. The initiative offers free prescription eye wear to children 16 and under whose families may be vulnerable, or cannot afford, to purchase glasses. 

“I started wearing glasses at 12. I can remember sitting at the bus stop in front of Academy with my friends when they pointed to someone down the road. It felt sudden, but I realized only in that moment that my vision was blurred. The next day in school, I struggled to see the chalk board from the back of the class. I remember feeling embarrassed about it,” recalled the MP.

Prescription eye wear on St. Maarten is known to be quite expensive. “I want to help those children who need it. There’s a saying that goes; if we share the same world, we should share the same vision. When my parents bought me my first pair of glasses, I didn’t think about how much they cost. Now I am quite aware of how lucky I was to get them," noted Duncan.

“There are children in our society struggling with vision impairment and losing the fight against preventable eye diseases because their families can't afford the necessary eyewear. If they can’t see, how can they learn? Project: Hope in Sight offers a helping hand,” concluded the MP.

Interested persons are asked to send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with a short bio of the child; name, age and contact info of a parent before October 30th, 2021.

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As of November 1st, fully vaccinated travelers will no longer require a COVID-19 test

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor, Omar Ottley announced during press briefing that as of November 1st, 2021, fully vaccinated persons will no longer require a COVID-19 test to enter St. Maarten.

This will only be applicable for travelers that are fully vaccinated with the approved vaccines of the RIVM and the WHO organization. The Minister went on to state that this is something that the ministry has been monitoring for some time, and with proven research has decided to proceed in this direction.  

Research has shown that the viral load of a fully vaccinated person, who is infected with COVID-19, lowers much faster than a person that is unvaccinated. This means that while there are a few breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated persons, the chances of these persons spreading the virus or becoming severely ill is tremendously low. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/science/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html

The Minister stated that the vaccine allows your body to fight the virus once the infection moves from the nasal cavity and into the bloodstream. Severe illness is avoided by being vaccinated, as your body will be better prepared to fight the virus.

On St. Maarten, there is a recorded 1.6% death rate, in which 0.04% were fully vaccinated. A similar percentage is recorded for the number of fully vaccinated hospitalizations. “This shows that the vaccine is highly effective and we can move towards allowing fully vaccinated persons to enter without requiring a test” said Ottley.  

Minister Ottley announced that his short-term plan is to also develop the COVID-19 recovery Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC), which allows persons to register their past infections and show proof of natural immunity.

Please note that the requirements for unvaccinated persons remain the same, for further details visit the Government website. 

Please see List of WHO approved vaccines below:

Moderna

Pfizer/BioNTech. (FDA Approved)

Janssen (Johnson & Johnson)

Oxford/AstraZeneca.

Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP

Sinovac. CoronaVac.

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