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Soualiga Newsday Latest News (2443)

Pro Soualiga: A People Under Authority Cannot Exercise Genuine Free Will

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - More than fifty years after gaining independence in 1968, Mauritius, an independent island nation located in the Indian Ocean, was not fully decolonized according to The International Court of Justice (ICJ), the PRO Soualiga Foundation said in a statement this week. 

“The ICJ in its Advisory Opinion of February 2019, declared that "the process of decolonization of Mauritius was not lawfully completed when that country acceded to independence."   Prior to gaining independence in 1968, Mauritius entered into the Lancaster House Agreement in 1965 with the United Kingdom, its administering power, regarding the detachment of the Chagos Islands from Mauritius who were then a territory of the United Kingdom.

“Recalling UN Resolution 1514 (XV), the ICJ ruled that any agreement entered into with an administering power "unless based on the freely expressed and genuine will of the people of the territory concerned, is contrary to the right to self-determination."  Furthermore, in paragraph 172, the ICJ states that "it is not possible to talk of an international agreement.....when one of the parties (Mauritius) to it (international agreement)...was under the authority of the latter (United Kingdom)."  

“In other words, because the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) had not determined in 1965 that Mauritius, a Non-Self-Governing Territory at that time, had attained a full measure of self-governance and a right to self-determination, any agreements that it entered into with its administering power was in contravention to international law because a people under authority cannot exercise GENUINE free will.  Subsequently, the ICJ affirmed that "All Member States (of the UN) are under an OBLIGATION to co-operate with the United Nations in order to complete the decolonization of Mauritius."

“Moreover, Article 103 of the UN Charter, also known as a supremacy clause, defines said obligation by clearly stipulating that "In the event of a conflict between the obligations of the Members of the United Nations under the present (UN) Charter and their obligations under any other agreement, their obligations under the present (UN) Charter shall prevail."

“Adhering to the aforementioned obligation, The Kingdom of the Netherlands, a founding member of the United Nations in 1945, provided a Written Statement to the ICJ in February of 2018 in which it agreed that Mauritius while being a fully autonomous island nation, had not been fully decolonized. 

“Furthermore, in May of 2019, the UNGA passed Resolution 73/295 (based on the ICJ Advisory Opinion) where it called for "the United Nations and all its specialized agencies" and "international, regional, as well as, intergovernmental organizations" to support the full decolonization of Mauritius. It is worth bearing in mind that in December of 2010, the UN also passed Resolution 65/119  which declared the period of 2011-2020 to be the Third International Decade for the Eradication of Colonialism,” the PRO Soualiga foundation statement concludes.


SINT MAARTEN: Understanding your “Decolonization” Dilemma

SINT MAARTEN (COMMENTARY – By Julio R. Romney) - With the Parliament of Sint Maarten deliberating the apparent need to “end the violations of St. Maarten’s UN-mandated right to a full measure of self-government completing the decolonization of St. Maarten and other islands of the former Netherlands Antilles”, it is submitted that based upon United Nations General Association Resolution 945 (X), in 1955, the Netherlands Antilles/ Sint Maarten is not ‘non-self-governing’ (under Chapter XI of the UN Charter) and is therefore considered decolonized. However, as will be discussed later, this does not mean or imply that the Kingdom of the Netherlands, de facto the Netherlands, hasn’t been suppressing Sint Maarten and the other Islands of the former Netherlands Antilles.

As affirmed in UN declarations and related body of literature the term “decolonization is proper defined as “the process of rendering political independence to a territory that is a colony by its colonizer”. Simply, the transitioning from a colony to a non-colony status involves the dismantling of governing structures that preserve the colonial status quo for an indigenous structure. To this end, the UN General Assembly has concluded that the process of decolonization can be realized through independence, by association or integration within an existing State. (UN Resolution 742(VII))

In this context, “noting that the Netherlands and the Netherlands Antilles” (Colonies of the Netherlands), by virtue of their rights of self-determination as expressed in Article 1 of the covenant adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, freely in association expressed their will to establish a new constitutional order in the Kingdom of the Netherlands in which they will conduct their internal interest autonomously and their common interest on a basis of equality and will accord each other assistance and resolved in consultation to adopt the Charter of the Kingdom of the Netherlands”. As such, it can only be concluded that the Netherlands Antilles/ Sint Maarten has in effect completed the process of decolonization and self-determination.

Moreover, the decolonization process and self-determination were further solidified, with the referendum of 2000, in which the people of Sint Maarten again freely expressed their right of self-determination by overwhelmingly voting (70%) to “become a country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands (in essence, a constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) over the other options of “remaining part of the Netherlands Antilles”, “become a part of the Netherlands”, or “independence” as sought after by their elected representatives. This is in accordance with the UN Declaration (A/RES/567) relating to a territory expressing a full measure of self-governance through associating with and existing State (in Sint Maarten case becoming a county/ constituent state of the Kingdom of the Netherlands) and the principles of self-determination that this decision should be made by the people themselves or their legitimate representative.

With regard to the talking point that “there is no UN Resolution indicating that the Netherlands Antilles/ Sint Maarten has attained a full measure of self-government, therefore the decolonization process has not been completed”. Reference is to be made to the 557th UN General Assembly plenary meeting, December 15, 1955, in which the Netherlands was invited to present its case as to the development of self-government in the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. Without prejudice the information/ evidence was accepted by the General Assembly and the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname were rendered excluded from Non-Self-Governing territories – ending of the transmission of information under Article 73 e of the (UN) Charter in respect of the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname as appropriate”/ territories of self-government. (Resolution 945 (X)). In effect not a non-self-governing territory.

As it pertains to 73a, b, c, and d of Chapter XI, the Declaration regarding Non-Self-Governing Territories being excluded in the cessation Resolution 945 (X), these are likely measures that based on the UN Charter shall be ensured when in “association” with an independent State. Unlike when “independence” is gained outright, the territory possesses full obligation to promote its own well-being.

Regarding the notion that “with the removal of Articles 44, 50, and 51 from the charter for the Kingdom of the Netherlands, “vola” the decolonization process will be completed”, this too is incorrect. To the contrary this would impede the Kingdom of the Netherlands from adhering to the International Trusteeship System of the United Nations (Chapter XII) – the administration and supervision of such territories as may be placed thereunder by subsequent individual agreements.

Equally, we must be mindful that the “association” in which we are in is that of a Monarchy, where the center of authority or supreme power and authority is vested in a heredity head/ the King, de facto the constituent state of the Netherlands and it would be inconceivable that an “associated state” can change this. This is alluded to in a court proceeding of the International Court of Justice that “in association with an existing state does not end the applicability of the right of self-determination to that people nor does it terminate the corresponding legal obligation of the State in which the territory . . . has become associated to respect and promote the right of self-determination of that people in the new, post-colonial situation. In other words, by becoming a “country within the Kingdom of the Netherlands did not disavow the Netherlands and or the Kingdom of the Netherlands of their right to self-determination.

In conclusion, in no way are we advocating that the Netherlands is totally within its right and is not suppressing the constituent state of Sint Maarten. However, the avenue for change is certainly not with the United Nations, but within the confinement of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and proper deliberations with the (constituent state of the) Netherlands. Sint Maarten Institute of Public Policy Studies would welcome the opportunity to lend its Development Administration (defining, consolidating and implementing national goals in developing countries/ territories) expertise in addressing this “decolonization” anomaly/ dilemma.

Julio R. Romney B.A, M.P.A., A.B.D

Sint Maarten Institute for Public Policy Studies


“Ready, Set, Protect!” - Reflection of Children Rights Development on St. Maarten

SINT MAARTEN (POND ISLAND) - The importance of recognizing Children’s Rights on St. Maarten began as early as 1978. The now deceased Mrs. Mavis Salomon Brooks and Dr. Linda Banks first started the initiative by writing and producing   a song about children rights for a song festival. Ever since, many individuals in our community volunteered their personal time in promoting the development and empowerment of children through various activities. Radio programs, uniformed groups and performing arts were among the undertakings by loyal persons.

On November 20th, 1989, the United Nations ratified the United Nation Convention for the Rights of the Child, with 140 countries including the Kingdom of the Netherlands adding their signature to this convention.

Consequently, all islands within the Kingdom adopted this treaty and started the work of drafting, establishing and implementing policy and programs in the interest of Children’s Rights.

The first official policy initiative for St. Maarten emerged as the Integrated Youth Policy which was drafted in 2006 under mandate of the former Commissioner of Culture, Youth & Sport, Mr. Louie Laveist.

St. Maarten further developed a campaign strategy by employing a unified approach in bringing awareness regarding children’s rights to the community. In 2006, an inter- governmental agreement was forged between the Island Government of St. Maarten and the then French Commune Saint Martin to jointly organize and host awareness activities for the entire island. This cooperation resulted in the further inclusion of Saba, St. Eustatius and Anguilla in the annual Rights of the Child calendar of events.

During an Inter- parliamentary Kingdom Conference held on Aruba in April 2014, Kingdom partners determined that a Kingdom Taskforce should be established to synchronize and monitor youth focal areas and share best practices among the islands. This collaboration was anchored into a Memorandum of Understanding that was signed in 2018 by the former Minister of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport, Mr. Wycliffe Smith.

Since the passing of hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017 and since the emergence of COVID-19 earlier this year, The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth & Sport has intensified its working relations with UNICEF to assist in areas of policy writing, program implementation and collaborations with youth NGO’. This collaboration has resulted in the publication of a quarterly magazine on children’s rights called: “Growing Up Safe”.  

In keeping with the child’s right to education amidst the Pandemic, Minister of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport, drs. Rodolphe Samuel established the ‘Sint Maarten’s Plan for Education Continuity – Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic’ . This comprehensive framework for the continuity of education was established to support schools in developing plans to deliver educational opportunities during the pandemic.

The Ministry of Education, Culture, Youth and Sport continues to invest in capacity building programs for its staff and youth stakeholders, in order to guarantee the quality of services offered and above all, ensure that our youth develops in safe and healthy environments.


World Antibiotic Awareness Week: United to preserve antimicrobials

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – World Antibiotic Awareness Week (WAAW) 2020 kicked off on November 18 and runs through November 24 under the theme: “United to preserve antimicrobials.”

The one-week period is being observed all around the world and by Collective Prevention Services (CPS) with the intent to increase awareness so all persons can be attentive on the use of antibiotics, and to encourage best practices among the public, and health workers.

Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) according to the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) threatens the effective prevention and treatment of an ever-increasing range of infections caused by bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi.

PAHO: “Antimicrobial resistance happens when microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, viruses, and parasites) change when they are exposed to antimicrobial drugs (such as antibiotics, antifungals, antivirals, antimalarials, and anthelmintics).”

Microorganisms that develop antimicrobial resistance is a global concern because new resistance mechanisms are emerging and spreading globally, threatening our ability to treat common infectious diseases, resulting in prolonged illness, disability, and death.

Medicines become ineffective and infections persist in the body, increasing the risk of spread to others.

Without effective antibiotics, the success of major surgery and cancer chemotherapy would be compromised.

The World Health Organization (WHO) gave several reasons why AMR is increasing.  Firstly, the misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals, and plants – Misuse and overuse of antimicrobials in humans, animals and plants are the main drivers in the development of drug-resistant infections.

Poor medical prescribing practices and patient adherence to treatment also contribute. For example, antibiotics kill bacteria, but they cannot kill viral infections like colds and flu.

Often, they are incorrectly prescribed for those illnesses, or taken without proper medical oversight. Antibiotics are also commonly overused in farm animals and agriculture.

Secondly, the lack of access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) for both humans and animals – Lack of clean water and sanitation in health care facilities, farms and community settings and inadequate infection prevention and control promotes the emergence and spread of drug-resistant infections.

Thirdly, COVID-19 – The misuse of antibiotics during COVID-19 pandemic could lead to accelerated emergence and spread of antimicrobial resistance.

COVID-19 is caused by a virus, not by a bacteria and therefore antibiotics should not be used to prevent or treat viral infections, unless bacterial infections are also present.


Statia’s Golden Opportunity Program starts tomorrow

SINT EUSTATIUS (ORANJESTAD) - The training and employment of 24 Statian residents at the Golden Rock Estate starts today, Wednesday November 18th 2020. After 12 months of training on the job and proven excellence performance, a 2-year job contract at the Golden Rock Estate is guaranteed.              

The kickoff ceremony of the job program was held yesterday morning, Tuesday November 17th at the Mike van Putten Youth Center. Present (online) were Wiebren van Dijk (Deputy Department Head Employers and Social Security outside the European Netherlands), Bart Peut (Certified Hospitality instructor) Teuny van Rossem and Letty Brands (Driessen Company).

The Deputy Government Commissioner, Ms. Alida Francis, addressed the selected candidates during the kickoff ceremony. “The ball is in your court. You were born and raised in Statia. You are the faces of Statia’s tourism and hospitality sector and therefore can offer visitors to our island the real vacation experience. The experience with local people is the single most important ingredient that helps visitors to select a particular vacation destination. Top quality and excellence in service needs to be offered. You will be trained by some of the best in the industry. Therefore, make this golden opportunity work for you”. 


Selection of candidates was done in close collaboration with the New Challenges Foundation (NCF) and the Labor Department. NCF delivers the teachers and instructors to train the hospitality employees in various areas: front desk, bartenders, waitresses, hostesses etc. Island Essence assisted the Labor Department to establish the standards and criteria for admission, testing, review, completion and passage of the training program. Island Essence will guide the selected employees in acquiring sufficient practice during the project phase to help them execute duties required for skills development. 


The Public Entity of St. Eustatius, the NCF and Island Essence agreed to collaborate on educating and preparing young adults for the job market in the hospitality. The proof of commitment was endorsed on Thursday August 28th , by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on “The Golden Opportunity Job Program”. The Public Entity of St. Eustatius will contribute with 50 % of the expenses related to the Golden Opportunity Job Program, through financial support from the Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment (SZW). The remaining 50% will be funded by the Golden Rock Estate. The Deputy Government Commissioner further expressed the wish that other companies on St. Eustatius will follow with suitable job programs that will grant Statian youth the opportunity to participate and grow along in the development process of the island. (Statia GIS)


Local Toastmaster, Melissa Harrison-Grinuva is the winner of Toastmasters International competition

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - Toastmaster Melissa Harrison-Grinuva is the winner of the 24-hour World Table Topics marathon representing Division I of Districts 81.

During this event, which took place earlier in November, TM Melissa was given a topic to speak about for 2 minutes. Toastmaster Melissa spoke of her experience growing up in a strong and resilient single-mother household and the impact on her as a thriving adult today. She encouraged the audience to embrace their beginnings, show gratitude for the present, and be hopeful for the future.  

TM Melissa is a chartered member of the Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club and a member of the Disciples Toastmasters club.

This District 81 comprises the territories in the Caribbean and forms part of Toastmasters International. Division I covers the territories Martinique, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten.

Toastmaster Melissa competed against the other 9 Division representatives of the District, capturing the event for her Division. 

The 24 hours Table Topic Marathon is organized by the Toastmasters #24hours Organized Committee. This committee comprises members from Toastmaster clubs all over the world. The event provides Toastmaster members with the opportunity to represent their Division to claim the District title. TM Melissa represented Division I which is one of the 10 Divisions in District 81. District 81 comprises Caribbean Territories from Haiti in the north to Suriname in the south, with representation from the French, Spanish, Dutch and English Caribbean. The District impeccably epitomizes true Caribbean unity. District 81 had 10 participants, represented by each Division within the district. The 10 strong speakers delivered well-structured, professional Table Topic speeches. TM Melissa is the 1st place winner of the District 81 session.

Toastmasters is an international organization that specializes in honing the personal and professional development skills of communication and leadership for persons (young, mature and otherwise) who dare to challenge themselves to grow in a dynamic and friendly learning environment. In return, these acquired skills foster the important attributes of self-confidence and personal growth necessary for public speaking, work, leadership or interpersonal communications.


PRO Soualiga Foundation questions current Kingdom Laws in relation to Kingdom of the Netherlands Written Statement

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The PRO Soualiga Foundation issued a press release over the weekend. “In February of 2018, the Kingdom of the Netherlands submitted a Written Statement to the International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague regarding the Chagos Islands and their struggle for a full measure of self-governance and right to self-determination.  The ICJ, also known as the World Court, is one of the six organs of The United Nations.  Its primary tasks are to settle "disputes between states in accordance with international law and give advisory opinions on international legal issues."  

“In the aforementioned Written Statement of February of 2018, the Kingdom of the The Netherlands declared that "the right to self-determination of peoples is a PERMANENT, continuing, universal and inalienable right with a peremptory character."  Additionally, the Netherlands agreed without prejudice with Resolution 1514 of the United Nations General Assembly by stating that "self-determination was a right and not a principle."  

“The Netherlands continued to expound that "the right of self-determination of the people of a colonial territory prevailed over any claim by the administering State" which, in the case of St. Maarten, would be the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  

“In paragraph 2.2 of the Written Statement, The Netherlands declared that "it must also be concluded that the decisions on the political status and the economic, social and cultural development are made by the people itself, or its legitimate representatives, not by others.  Moreover, such decisions shall be made in full freedom, without any outside pressure or interference."

“When we compare this bold statement by the Kingdom of the Netherlands versus their undiplomatic and impartial implementation of the Kingdom Law and the CRE, we see the hypocrisy.  The Kingdom of the Netherlands poses before the international community as this progressive enlightened state, while abusing defenseless islands by doing exactly the opposite of what they so loudly proclaim on the international stage.  When confronted about this contradictory approach, the Kingdom representatives distance themselves or try to downplay the importance of these bold pronouncements initially made at the International Court of Justice.

“In closing, it is clear to see that The Netherlands is a staunch defender of international laws and the United Nations as was undoubtedly demonstrated through their Written Statement to the International Court of Justice in February of 2018. They clearly have a sound understanding regarding the obligations and parameters of a full measure of self-government, the right to self-determination, as well as, decolonization,” the statement from the PRO Soualiga Foundation concludes.


Minister of Health Panneflek: World Diabetes Day 2020: The Nurse and Diabetes

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) — World Diabetes Day, marked every year on November 14 was created in response to growing concerns about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. The theme for World Diabetes Day 2020 is The Nurse and Diabetes. Nurses are vital in the fight against diabetes, as they help patients understand, and cope with the condition.  

People with diabetes are paying a particularly high price. Not only do they have a higher risk of severe COVID-19 disease and death when infected, but many are having difficulty accessing the treatment they need due to disruptions to essential health services.

Though we are all learning more about COVID-19 daily, diabetic patients should remain cautious and follow the below steps:

  • Wash your hands frequently, always avoid touching your face.
  • Stay away from anyone who you know is sick.
  • Ask family and friends who are sick to avoid visiting you.
  • Always stay at least 2-meters apart from any other person when in public.
  • Minimize, and if possible, completely avoid, going to places with large crowds – this includes the stores, supermarkets, and pharmacies. When possible, ask a friend or relative who is healthy to purchase necessary items for you.
  • Wear a face mask for protection when in public spaces.

“One of my priorities as Minister of Public Health is to ensure the establishment of podiatric care on Sint Maarten. I would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to the Diabetes Foundation, nurses and medical professionals on Sint Maarten for all their hard work and dedication in the field. Together we will strengthen our primary care to improve the quality of life for those with diabetes,” said Minister Panneflek.


Prime Minister Jacobs congratulates United Labour Party on election win

SINT MAARTENN (POND ISLAND) - On behalf of the Government of Sint Maarten, I hereby congratulate Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, the Unity Labour Party and the people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines on the recent general election win of November 5th.

We wish the officials elected to the House of Representatives the best in this new term of office. St. Maarten looks forward to forging ways of cooperation with our brothers and sisters here in the Caribbean such as Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.


Securing our Future Through Unity and Collaboration

SINT MAARTEN (HARBOUR VIEW) – His Excellency Governor Drs. Eugene B. Holiday, delivered the following address on the occasion of St. Martin’s Day.

My Fellow St. Martiners,

Marie-Louise and I wish you a Safe and Happy St. Martin Day.

Today, November 11, 2020, we celebrate our way of life. We do so as one St. Martin People. We celebrate our St. Martin heritage of unity and friendship. We celebrate our St. Martin spirit of community, kindness, and brotherhood, shaped by the actions and accomplishments of generations of St. Martiners. It is as such a day for us to celebrate and take pride in our culture and values which have made us the people and island we are today. We can do so in the knowledge that we will continue to secure our future through unity and collaboration.

On this St. Martin Day we are facing truly difficult times. This year’s celebration, like almost everything, is therefore different than any other. Because of the current coronavirus pandemic there is no joint church service and no joint border ceremony. Cultural and other festivities are toned down and I am addressing you from my office, as opposed to from French Quarter. This socially distance form of celebration stands in stark contrast to our St. Martin Day spirit of brotherhood and friendship, of togetherness and collaboration. On this St. Martin Day we are, as a result reminded that we should never, never take our St. Martin way of life for granted. We must instead – always, always – stand up, to nurture and protect our way of life.

My Fellow St. Martiners,

It is in that spirit, that I believe that we ought to be proud of our frontliners. On this St. Martin Day I therefore pay tribute to our courageous men and women who continue to risk their own lives to protect our life and livelihood. We must remember those who work tirelessly to ensure the continued supply of health care, medicine, food, water, electricity, law enforcement services, education, telecommunications, transport, aviation, disaster management, social aid, and other essential services. As a people we are particularly indebted to our doctors, nurses, other healthcare workers, law enforcement officers and volunteers, who work on the frontline in the fight against the coronavirus. They exemplify the St. Martin characteristic of sacrifice. They remind us that our way of life and the future of our people is worth fighting for.

That is important given that the coronavirus has and continues to affect our way of life. It has taken a major toll globally and at home. It has created an unprecedented health, social, economic, and financial crisis. It has caused much suffering and uncertainty and severely disrupted our life and livelihood. In times of crisis or danger we automatically want to hug and comfort our family and friends. Under the current circumstances we are restricted from doing just that, because every act of physical kindness and compassion can bring illness or even death. The virus as such demonstrates – in a very, very tough way – that our health, survival, and growth depend on each other’s actions. That is that each of us is responsible for the welfare of the other. The virus reminds us that we are our brother’s keeper. This reinforces the importance of the basic value underlying our St. Martin Day celebration: brotherhood. By further strengthening the basic St. Martin Day principle of brotherly collaboration, we can be assured that these difficult times will not last. Yes, we can be assured that these difficult times will not last. 

The pandemic further reminds us that we form part of a global village, where developments are strongly interconnected. This implies that whatever affects one country affects the rest of the world. This is even more so for our shared 37 square miles island in the face of global challenges, such as climate change and the coronavirus. As a St. Martin people, we all know the saying: “The gale does not stop at the border”. Today we can add: “the virus does not stop at the border”. Because whatever affects one part of our island affects our entire island. The pandemic therefore reminds us that we must in the spirit of St. Martin Day, work with our brothers at home and with our partners overseas to effectively confront and overcome our common challenges and create a better future for all of us.

My fellow St. Martiners,

As we look to the future on this St. Martin Day, I trust that we will draw from our valued St. Martin Day principles of unity and collaboration. I am confident that we, as a St. Martin People, will rise to the challenge and embrace our St. Martin Day values to overcome and rebuild our island, just as we have done in the face of past challenges. I trust that we will draw from the strength of unity and seize the opportunities from the scale of collaboration to secure our future.

My Fellow St. Martiners,

It is with that ideal for our current and future wellbeing that Marie Louise and I wish you a Safe and Happy St. Martin Day Celebration.

Stay safe, Thank you, God Bless you and May God Bless Sint Maarten and protect its coast.

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