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SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – The St. Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform and the Consumers Coalition had a press conference on Thursday and covered the four issues below.

  1. Today the International Day of Eradication of Poverty
  2. Update on the Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program
  3. Our Affordable Social Housing Program
  4. Updates from the WICLU union meetings

Topic 1: Today the International Day of Eradication of Poverty

The International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is annually observed on the 17th of October. This according to the General Assembly of the United Nations in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992. It was the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski for Overcoming Extreme Poverty of 32 years ago on October 17— and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day

End poverty in all its forms everywhere. The UN explainsExtreme poverty rates have fallen by more than half since 1990. While this is a remarkable achievement, one-in-five people in developing regions still live on less than $1.90 a day. Millions more make little more than this daily amount and are at risk of slipping back into extreme poverty. Sustainable Development Goal 1 (SDG1) aims to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030.

The theme this year is: Acting Together to Empower Children, their Families and Communities to End Poverty[1]. In addition to the commemorative event to be held by the United Nations in New York on 17 October, commemorations of the international day are being organized worldwide. The online community is asked to use #End Poverty to share messages about the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty via social media.

Here in St Maarten the University of Saint Martin (USM), the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) and UNESCO St Maarten in commemoration of this International Day for the Eradication of Poverty will kick of their Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) seminar series on SDG 1 NO POVERTY with two guest speakers who will elaborate on the Topic Combating Poverty in St Maarten. Topics which the presenters will reflect on are:

  • What initiatives have been taken to combat poverty on St Maarten?
  • What is the poverty line on St Maarten
  • Can we eradicate poverty on St Maarten?

Ms. Loekie Morales from the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations (BAK) will give an introduction on the Sustainable Development Goals and the SDG 1 NO POVERTY goal in particular. From government Ms. Rose Pooran-Fleming policy advisor Social Development at the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (VSA) will present the policies of the government of St Maarten to combat poverty in St Maarten, whereas your servant (Raymond Jessurun) of the Sint Maarten Anti-Poverty Platform will share the struggle of the platform to eradicate not only extreme poverty but also the relative poverty in this part of the Kingdom.

While this broadcast will air in the news of this evening and tomorrow the event will take place in the USM Lecture Hall from 7-8.30 pm. Doors will be opened on 6.30 pm. We will try to get a recording of the presentations and will definitely come back in our subsequent press conferences with our analysis of the seminar on this NO POVERTY topic.

Topic 2: More than 35.000 views for video on Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program


As we have been informing you the Anti-Poverty Platform / Consumers Coalition initiative is still the talk of talk of the town.

  • Not only locally but also internationally the Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program for the poor and needy households and the Consumers in Sint Maarten is getting a lot of attention.
  • The interview which the Dutch reporters of Caribbean Network did when they visited the health fair when the second container arrived have received more than 35.000 views already
  • Looking at the amount of shares, likes and comments on social media which videos on our health fair are getting aired by local reporters such as SXM Daily News, 721 NEWS, and our own public broadcasts, we can conclude that we have definitely got the attention not only of our society but also abroad in the Kingdom and in the region.

Membership and Attendance registration.

The most interesting figures which proof the successful response of the local consumers are the following:

  • We have now more than 3000 members in our program! The first container brought 1300 members in the program, the second container brought 1200 new members in the program, and this week another 500 new members signed up for the program.
  • How often members are making use of the program? Since Saturday we started to register the attendance of each member to get an idea. More than 1500 persons came to purchase their produce, and some visited the WIFOL more than once during this week!
  • Members are asking why they have to write their name and phone number each time they come if they have registered already as a member. There is no better proof than you own handwriting to proof that you were present.
  • The statistics we get out of these data will proof to government and the community that our members do want the fresh quality and affordable fruits, veggies and provision is not a onetime hype, but a regular need of our members.


  • Limes, Green peppers, cucumbers, carrots, watermelon, tamarind, coconuts, provision, spices like cinnamon, thyme are high in demand.
  • This third container in no time the green peppers, carrots were finished.


  • There are always obstacles to confront. One of the obstacles is the need for volunteers to start early in the morning and the challenge to handle the line of patient members with their shopping bags much faster. We hereby appeal to our members to give us at least 4 hours a week of your time to volunteer with the United Consumers Association.
  • We are grateful for the assistance of the volunteers who have supported us in the program so far. Our volunteers who are also consumers understand the vision that to keep the prices affordable not only for themselves but also for all their volunteering is showing the solidarity with all consumers.

Reminder for our event coming Saturday Oct 19 10 am to 16 pm

  • Free Health Screening, health information, personal diet advise from 10 am to 16 pm
  • Thanks to assistance from stakeholders such as the Collective Preventative Services (CPS), the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)
  • Do not miss this opportunity to check your health condition and ask questions related to your specific health condition

Topic 3: Our Affordable Social Housing Program

As addressed in our former press conferences apart from our Affordable Health Food and Nutrition Program, we embarked also on an Affordable Social Housing Program. The objectives of this program are to bring down the prices of house rent and to provide more resilient social housing for the 13.000 poor and needy households.

Government and the World Bank have concluded that Irma has damaged structurally 13.000 to 15.000 of the more than 19.000 housing units in St Maarten! Yet not even a 1000 homes have been repaired with Dutch funding. With this speed of 1000 homes in two years the 13.000 to 15,000 homes will be rebuild better in the coming 26 to 30 years !! This is unacceptable especially with the risk every year of another hurricane.

The campaign encourages the poor and needy households to file their complaint about the rent they are paying now for a housing condition that still needs repair to be a resilient home. The campaign will demand to bring down the rent just as the Belvedere tenants of the Housing Foundation have managed in court! Also a more permanent solution of 15.000 affordable social homes to be built by the Kingdom government in one year time will be demanded in court based on the huge violation of the human right to adequate housing for years now in this part of the Kingdom.

This evening two of our co-coordinators will give information about this program to the members of the Down Town Business and Consumers Association at 7 pm in the John Larmonie Center. 




SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - SHTA in cooperation with Carib Beer are excited to announce their 2020 national event calendar. As the country is still recovering from the 2017 hurricane season, the calendar is more relevant than ever to show that Sint Maarten is still alive and vibrant with many events.

The calendar gives businesses and NGOs an opportunity to showcase their activities and events on a global base. Because of SHTAs calendar campaign, which consists of distributing the calendars to members, partners and public places, the reach of the calendar has doubled over the past year.

In addition, the calendar is being showcased in the VISIT, SHTA’s official in-room magazine and events are being shared by Facebook and SHTAs member newsletter.

Both digital and physical editions of the calendar have been actively distributed and reprinted by representatives in both the United States and Europe. The colorful blocks and pictures designed by Loic Bryan,l have been used to promote destination Sint Maarten by Facebook channels and influencers.

If you wish to publish your next upcoming event, SHTA is offering an early bird special up until October 31st, 2019. Please forward your information to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call +1721 5420108, please include date, time, location and any specified information. More information can be found on


Police fire shots in attempt to apprehend three-armed Front Street Casino robbers

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The Special Unit Robbery is investigating an attempted armed robbery that took place at the Rouge Et Noir casino on Front Street, during the hours of 00:30am early Thursday morning, police announced on Thursday.  

On the scene the police patrol learned that, three armed men all dressed in a black hooded sweatshirt, stormed into the casino wearing face masks and demanded cash from the cashiers, while threatening the people inside.  The robbers were unsuccessful in their attempt to rob the casino because of the security measures that were implemented by the casino. 

Unable to obtain any cash, the suspects fled on foot towards the board walk area.

While the police were busy searching the area for the suspects, the dispatch center received information about the car the suspects were driving and passed this information on to the officers on the road.

Patrols on duty were able to spot the vehicle on the A.Th Illidge road in the Over the Pond vicinity. The suspects led the police patrols on a high speed chase where shots were fired by officers in an attempt to apprehend the perpetuators.  The suspects abandoned the car on the Arch road area and fled on foot whereby the police were unable to apprehend the suspects.

The detectives investigating this armed robbery case is asking anyone who has information to please contact the Sint Maarten Police Force at +1 721- 542 22 22 ext. 204 or 205 or the anonymous tip line on 9300 .  You can also visit the police website at or leave a message via our Facebook page (Police Force of Sint Maarten - Korps Politie Sint Maarten)


CPS: October 16 marked World Food Day. Theme: Our actions are our future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World

GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – World Food Day (WFD) was a day of action against chronic hunger and malnutrition and the 2019 theme is: “Our actions are our future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World.”

As part of the theme, a healthy diet is one that meets the nutritional needs of individuals by providing sufficient, safe, nutritious and diverse foods to lead an active life and reduce the risk of disease.

It includes, among others, fruits, vegetables, legumes, nuts, seeds and whole grains, and foods that are low in fats (especially saturated fats), sugar and salt.

The United Nations (UN) Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO) and WFD partners called on people to work more closely together to create opportunities so that everyone can lead a healthy and productive life.

The Collective Prevention Services (CPS), a department from the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour, says going forward, adopting a healthier diet, promoting the need to plant vegetable/fruit gardens or by supporting local food producers are actions that support and ensure the future. CPS reminds persons to read the labels on the food packages and/or containers, make healthy decisions; know about the food you eat; make sure your plate is balanced and is at the right size; make healthy choices, exercise; eat healthy, read your food labels, check expiration dates and wash your vegetables and fruits properly. Ensure a healthy weight as we work towards Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World, the future.

The FAO says that in recent in recent decades, we have dramatically changed our diets and eating habits as a result of globalization, urbanization and income growth.

“We have moved from seasonal, mainly plant-based and fibre-rich dishes to diets that are high in refined starches, sugar, fats, salt, processed foods, meat and other animal-source products. Less time is spent preparing meals at home, and consumers, especially in urban areas, increasingly rely on supermarkets, fast food outlets, street food vendors and take-away restaurants.

“A combination of unhealthy diets and sedentary lifestyles has sent obesity rates soaring, not only in developed countries, but also low-income countries, where hunger and obesity often coexist. Now over 670 million adults and 120 million girls and boys (5-19 years) are obese, and over 40 million children under 5 are overweight, while over 820 million people suffer from hunger.

“An unhealthy diet is the leading risk factor for deaths from non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and certain cancers. Linked with one fifth of deaths worldwide, unhealthy eating habits are also taking a toll on national health budgets costing up to USD 2 trillion per year.

“Obesity and other forms of malnutrition affect nearly one in three people. Projections indicate that the number will be one in two by 2025. The good news is that affordable solutions exist to reduce all forms of malnutrition, but they require greater global commitment and action,” the FAO said on the occasion of World Food Day.

Our actions are our future. Healthy Diets for a #ZeroHunger World


SHTA, SMTA and IMA requests Receivers Office to Revisit Decision not to Accept Checks

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The business community on Sint Maarten is very much concerned with the decision by Management of The Receiver to eliminate the use of all checks as a means of payment, a statement from three of the country’s business organizations namely, Sint Maarten Hospitality and Trade Association (SHTA), the Sint Maarten Timeshare Association (SMTA)

And the Indian Merchants Association (IMA) said in a media statement on Tuesday.

“Like it or not, St. Maarten’s predominant tool for financial exchange is still a paper check.  To restrict its use is hindering the economy and increasing the cost of doing business. 

“Once again, the Government enacts a knee jerk reaction which succeeds in punishing those that comply without effecting those that don’t.  If such a drastic measure were necessary, it would make sense to at least consult with the clients of the Receiver in order to mitigate negative impact for all parties, instead of unilaterally making such a far-reaching change.

“All other payment alternatives being offered by the Receiver, will in fact force businesses to settle their monthly tax debt earlier than it is due by law, because payments will have to be negotiated in advance in order for a payment receipt to be submitted with the declaration.  The SHTA doubts very much that this is legally allowable within the current legislation, and certainly not based solely on an announcement by “Management”.

“Further, we emphasize that our fiscal system is not technologically nor efficiently aligned to deal with a direct bank payment.  Businesses have already experienced missing payments, unapplied payments, late fines and penalties because of the date an online payment was entered into the system versus when it was made by the company or when it was received by the Receiver.  This is unacceptable when by default the payment will have to be made in advance and the business has no control over when it will be posted to the bank or the accounts of the Receiver.

“While we recognize the issues caused by bad checks and NSF payments, the Receiver also has not been timely in processing its deposits, as we’ve noticed often payments made to the Receiver are not cleared for a number of days. 

“This in itself can increase the number of bounced checks as many smaller businesses are operating on really tight cash flow and are not keeping their administration up-to-date on a daily basis due to cost constraints.  

“The bottom line is the economic situation on St. Maarten is deteriorating.  Companies are struggling in this period 2 years post Irma without any relief or marketing, more than before.  If the Receiver cannot assist by making the tax payment process more efficient, they should at least not make it worse. We request this be revisited immediately,” the SHTA, SMTA, IMA statement concludes.


Sarah’s Question to Minister Wever: Why has the acting Head of Domain Affairs been stripped of his duties?

SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Member of Parliament (MP) and Leader of the United Democrats Sarah Wescot Williams in a press statement made reference to a letter that appeared on social media. “Assuming that it is a legitimate letter, the immediate question would be: why has this action been taken against a young local professional?

“Given the ministry that is involved; the department in question and the civil servant (Peterson) who it regards, this question is even more pertinent, as the letter does not provide the slightest indication. The minister has to provide this explanation and promptly. Until then, it will be noted as the NA/USP/Mercelina/Brownbill’s first act of blatant political victimization.

“The questions posed by MP Wescot to the Minister of VROMI:

I have learned that Mr. Raeyhon Peterson has been relieved of his duties as Acting Head of Domain Affairs in the Ministry of VROMI as per immediate.

Is this report accurate?

If it is, what has lead to this decision?

Is this a disciplinary measure?

Have you ascertained whether the proper procedures have been followed to relieve a civil servant of his/her duties?

Has the civil servant in question been heard?

Are there plans to act against any other civil servant in the ministry of VROMI in like manner?

If so, who is or are these?

What is the legal position of Mr. Peterson following your decision?

“Please note that aforementioned questions will be formally channeled through the Chairperson of Parliament, making this an official request for answers by a member of parliament,” MP Wescot statement concludes.



SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) – Leader of the Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA) Gracita Arrindell said on Monday in a press statement: “Ensuring that democratic freedoms embedded in our Constitution can be enjoyed by every single voter on our beautiful island, is imperative”. There is no justification whatsoever to allow anyone regardless of their appointed or elected positions to take our democracy and its processes hostage.

“Now that confusion dust has settled over the arguably worst period in our constitutional history, it is critically important that we as a people, take stock of the past events that rocked our young nation and not in a positive way. It is critically important not to succumb to the negative narrative of what took place and is still taking place in regards to the processes ruling the voting process.

“What we do not want, what cannot happen is for us to sit quiet and not ask the critically important Questions of what happened, who made these decision and why those decisions were still made in spite of the glaring unprepared situation on the ground.

“Personally, as a responsible political leader, I was appalled, and furious and felt violated as many people were, in my right to rely on the basic principles of good governance and have a electoral process that every active and passive electorate can rely on.” What happened was unacceptable and should, will never occur again”.

Arrindell continues; “ Today October 14th is an official Holiday. Constitution Day. This day should be dedicated to the entire body of the Main Voting bureau, especially its chairman, Mr Jason Rogers. It takes guts to stand up for democracy as they did under his leadership. This is not political. It is simple common sense.

Imagine the ensuing chaos if these brave men and women did not pull the handbrakes on this process as they ‘spoke truth to power’ thereby force the powers that be to call off the date of October 2nd postulation day and election November 25th. Both dates were DOA. Dead on Arrival, yet government did not care!

“The expressed concerns by the main voting bureau were all justified. Some examples of what we experienced in the few days granted to parties that were ‘allowed’ to contest the elections from organizational standpoint for example;

  • no official notification of the election date neither by the main voting bureau, nor the electoral council, other than what we took note of by media
  • September 30, around 1215 afternoon, checklist sent by ministry of general affairs to political parties allowed to contest the elections
  • census office continued to have opening hours from 8 to 10.30 a.m for candidates to purchase their registration form from the census office (uitreksel basis administratie) 
  • concerns about the critical shortage of legal personnel to prepare draft laws (wetgevings juristen)

Gracita said: “Carefully reading the letter of resignation of the chairman of the main voting bureau I was dismayed and hopeful at the same time. My particular concern was that the chairman notified from the outset on September 25th both government and the governor of the constitutional and practical constrains regarding the dates of October 2nd and November 25th, and yet, those concerns were Ignored, prompting the main voting bureau to do the honorable and understandable act and resigned October 1st 2019, one day before postulation day. Why were those concerns ignored in the first place thereby putting all voters and some political leaders, current and aspiring including the P.P.A to protest that decision. In the meantime as a citizen recently stated to me ‘ ‘ER GEBEURT GEWOON NIETS’ under the current circumstances.

“Parliament must hold an inquiry into this serious issue. Failure to do so, will continue to stagnate our constitutional understanding of this process we embarked upon on October 10, 2010”. Additionally, Parliament can instruct the latest interim government to organize voting in the Netherlands and USA at cities where the majority of our students reside. We can vote for the Dutch and European elections, in Sint Maarten. Our students must be allowed to vote for their future as well.”

The PPA leader concludes: “We must conclude that our democracy is nor in peril. It is alive and evolving as many nations have done before us. More integrity needed and firm decision- making we can rely on. We must respect and support those who stand up not because it is good for them, but because it is right for us All!”


Secure psychiatric clinic launches probe after three prisoners escape while on leave

SINT MAARTEN/THE NETHERLANDS – The Pompe secure psychiatric clinic in Nijmegen has launched an internal investigation after three prisoners escaped and one committed suicide while out on leave, broadcaster NOS said on Friday.

Two of the three men who escaped were recaptured quickly but the third, who made off on a bike, was found in Paris five days after he vanished. On Thursday another man committed suicide by driving into a lorry while on leave.

Lawyers specialising in psychiatric prison cases say the escapes have been motivated by frustration because of the shortage of staff. ‘Things are escalating over a short period,’ lawyer Jan-Jesse Lieftink told broadcaster NOS.

He describes the Pompe clinic as possibly the best in the Netherlands. ‘This can happen anywhere, and it does happen everywhere,’ he said. ‘What is reported in the media is the tip of the iceberg.

But you must realise that official leave for people sentenced to psychiatric prison terms is extremely important and part of the system.’ The man who made it to Paris said in emails to local broadcaster Omroep Gelderland that the personnel are ‘a joke’.

‘Schoolgirls of 20 to 22 are supposed to tell me how to live my life?’ The shortage of staff was one of the reasons he took off, he told the broadcaster. In a statement about the Paris escape, the clinic said:

‘We are doing all we can to prevent incidents, but they cannot be ruled out entirely.’



Cupecoy Sunset Toastmaster scheduled to speak at TEDxAUCMED on Sunday

SINT MAARTEN (CUPECOY) - Melissa Harrison-Grinuva of the Cupecoy Sunset Toastmasters Club is scheduled to speak at the TEDxAUCMED on Sunday 13th of October 2019 at the American University of the Caribbean.

While “Toastmasters International has helped people from diverse backgrounds become more confident speakers, communicators, and leaders” the “TEDx events share ideas in communities around the world via a series of powerful speeches on various topics.”

This is a fabulous opportunity for Toastmaster Melissa and the club because it allows her to display the communication and leadership skills that she has acquired over the years as a part of her Toastmasters training.

The Cupecoy Toastmasters club recently hosted a successful meeting on Thursday the 10th of October 2019 with guest speaker Attorney Mr. Roland Duncan who discussed the vote of no confidence (Article 33) and the dissolution of parliament (Article 59) in observance of Constitution Day.

The club meets on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of every month at 5:30 p.m. at the American University of the Caribbean with the next meeting scheduled for October 24th, 2019.

All interested persons wishing to improve their communication and leadership abilities are welcome to attend. For more information contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Ramesh Manek Walk-a-Thon for ‘End Polio Now’ Scheduled for Saturday

SINT MAARTEN (COLE BAY) - On World Polio Day October 24th, The Rotary Club of St Maarten-Mid Isle will join thousands of Rotary clubs around the world who will hold events and fundraisers to recognize Rotary’s progress in the global fight to end polio. 

In continuing their support for the eradication of polio worldwide the Rotary Club of Maarten- Mid Isle will host the annual Ramesh Manek Walk-a-Thon for ‘End Polio Now' fundraising event on Saturday October 19th starting at 5:30am. The walk starts and ends at Tony’s Air Conditioning opposite Carl & Sons Unique Inn in Cole Bay.

Support is also possible by joining the participants for fellowship at the breakfast after the walk.  Tickets are available from all Mid Isle Rotarians for USD 15 per person which includes breakfast and an ‘End Polio Now’ T-shirt.

Tickets can also be purchased at the event. The route is from Tony’s Air Conditioning – Orange Grove road – Waterfront Road – Airport Road – Causeway Bridge – Union Road – Orange Grove Road and back to Tony’s Air Conditioning.  

Polio Poliomyelitis (polio) is a paralyzing and potentially fatal disease that still threatens children in some parts of the world. The poliovirus invades the nervous system and can cause total paralysis in a matter of hours. It can strike at any age but mainly affects children under five. Polio is incurable, but completely vaccine preventable.

The Rotary Club of St Maarten-Mid Isle would like to ask all citizens of St. Maarten to think about this debilitating disease Polio that has only been removed from the America’s since 1994. As long as the disease has not been eradicated, everybody in the world risks the return of polio to their communities. 

You too can be a part of the global effort to eradicate this disease globally very soon, as we really are this close to total eradication, by participating in the various efforts to raise the funds needed. These funds help to provide much-needed operational support, medical personnel, laboratory equipment, and educational materials for health workers and parents. Governments, corporations and private individuals all play a crucial role in funding towards the eradication of polio. 

To date, Rotary has contributed more than $1.9 billion to fight the disease, raised by events like this Walk-a-Thon, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio eradication program, PolioPlus, in 1985, the first initiative to tackle global polio eradication through the mass vaccination of children.  

In 1988, Rotary became a spearheading partner in the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation later joined and matches 2 to 1 every dollar raised by Rotary up to USD 150 million annually. 

Since the initiative was launched, the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent, from about 350,000 cases in 1988 to 33 cases of wild poliovirus in 2018.

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world.

Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit and for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.

Until Polio is eradicated the Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle remains fully committed to the global fight for the total eradication of Polio through its awareness and fundraising projects. If you would like to make a donation or learn more about how you can help eradicate polio, please contact any Mid Isle Rotarian or leave a message on our Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten Mid Isle.

The Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle meets Tuesday at 7pm at Pineapple Pete in Simpson Bay. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit their Facebook page Rotary Club of St. Maarten-Mid Isle.

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