Vote for your own future, not the politicians’

| 22/11/2019 | 56 Comments

101 writes: Reading the many comments on social media, a lot of the opposition to the new cruise berthing facility stems from our reaction to how the government has handled the proposed project. There isn’t a person on this planet who would argue that the government did not screw up in terms of information sharing, for example.

But on December 19th we are not voting for or against the government, we are deciding whether this country should proceed with a major infrastructure enhancement or not.

Elected governments all over the world (not just in Cayman) are upsetting the electorate on various issues on a daily basis. As voters we take the good (if any) while criticising the poor performances from the government, and come election day, they usually serve their well earned fate. If they have done more harm than good they are typically kicked out; if most of us believe they deserve to stay, we re-elect them.

Despite the political noise surrounding this port, the referendum on the port is not similar to a general election. Our biggest mistake would be to vote No, not to the project, but in our protest of the government. If the project is beneficial to our country over the long term then we will be voting against the interest of our own future and that of our children. Governments will come and go, but we have to deal with our future and living standards regardless of who is in power. 

We should therefore separate our assessment of the merits/costs of the project from the re-election of the government. Only then will we be using this referendum as a true display of people power (one which is guided by our own future and not the future of a bunch of politicians which changes every four years).

Don’t like the government? Fine, kick them all out in May 2021. But bear in mind that if (as some of us likely do) we feel that this may be a beneficial project but was simply handled poorly by the government, it will not be easy to return to this project under a similar partnership if we vote no at this stage.

This is because prospective partners will be very wary of working with any future government on the project and most certainly will not offer any deals as good as this one.  (Whatever you think of the deal now, the main point is that it will be worse because the future partners will consider the substantial risks that they might spend lots of money and time on the project before it fails to proceed).

Voting politically now instead of on the issue also poses another equally serious risk: if we vote in protest against this government, we will in effect be voting in support of another group of politicians who will become stronger for 2021. But the issue is we have not heard anything yet from these alternative leaders regarding education, healthcare, cost of living, jobs, etc. In fact their ONLY qualification at this stage would be that they are opposed to the port project. This is unlikely to bode well for our future.

Now consider this: if the referendum question was whether we hire a team of newly specialised doctors to treat our children or friends for a rare disease and the government had left it until late to tell us when the doctors were arriving, and failed to plan properly to arrange office space for the doctors, we would clearly not vote no against the doctors arriving urgently. Instead, we would review their qualifications and, once happy with that, we would get them on island as soon as possible, despite the actions of the government.

The port project will not cure a disease and we are not recruiting doctors. But the project is a significant proposal for the future of this country. Let’s not ignore that amid the noise of two politically charged campaigns, both of which now seem as straight forward precursors to the 2021 general elections.

Ignore the politics and (if you can) the anger against the process and vote for or against the project on its own merits.


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Category: development, Local News, Viewpoint

Comments (56)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Simple then…change the referendum date until after the updated EIA is published…otherwise we can’t think “poor MLA’s” like you are suggesting. Only they have the power to change the people’s thinking about this process.

  2. MR says:

    I completely agree with the points you have raised, however, you fail to mention even once in this piece that the oppositions primary concern is the environmental impact.

    ALL politics aside – the concern lies with the many acres of coral, the untold cost of infrastructure upgrades, insurances, how we cover losses if there is a major hurricane, what’s the plan for GT during the construction process; what about ship air pollution for GT residents by the ships being so close to a residential area?

    What are the major terms of the agreement? Who is drafting this agreement? What is the termination clause? Our jurisdiction or the other parties for judicial process, if ever?

    Not many people feel that a port itself is the problem, many agree a port is a great idea, but the shadiness is scary indeed.

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  3. Anonymous says:

    I am voting YES. We need these ports and the new bus and taxi pickup areas that will be built. This will greatly improve the traffic issues in town. And more importantly it will save thousands of Caymanian jobs in the cruise industry. I don’t want my kids growing up in a community with high unemployment and the crime that often accompanies that.

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    • Anonymous says:

      I’m with you 100%. We should all vote yes to show those big money tender operators and xpats they can’t throw their money around and control us!

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      • Anonymous says:

        huh? Is this sacrasm?

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      • Anonymous says:

        The CIG settled for $5mln, with our money, on the first iteration of this bad idea, and they have already spent >$10mln hawking this second round bad idea and false justification, again, with our money. There is no naturally protected harbor in Grand Cayman. The boats don’t exist. The widening passenger gap will be subsidized by the public – hundreds of millions in direct operational subsidy, billions in irreplaceable lost marine value and unintended/uncalculated other costs beyond construction phase. It’s bad from every possible angle. The worst one is that the deal is being made with a disposable shell company where we don’t know who the benefactors are, whether it will be outsourced to Dart or CHEC anyway; whether our Cabinet will have direct conflicted ownership themselves, and without any bid bond to secure any result or timeline, on a deal we can’t read! Astute thinking people have to vote no.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Use your brain.

    • Anonymous says:

      “We need these ports and the new bus and taxi pickup areas that will be built. This will greatly improve the traffic issues in town” – Just like the East West arterial was meant to resolve the traffic issue right

      “save thousands of Caymanian jobs” reminder they have been saying the cruise industry is about to die if we don’t build these piers since 2006 during the first PPM administration
      Anyone who believes that deserves to be conned

      “high unemployment and the crime that often accompanies that” – The high unemployment is already on the way, we didn’t diversify our economy after the financial crisis of 08-09 and we are currently staring down the barrel of another recession

      If avoiding high unemployment is your goal then starting a multimillion dollar capital works project that is reliant on tourism ( the ultimate form of discretionary spending) with a likely global recession about to occur seems like a smart idea

      Have you all forgotten the schools that Alden started and then left for 10 years?

      You people are so shortsighted
      Alden could say the dock will fly, get rid of Mount Trashmore and get Caymanians to Mars by 2025 and you idiots would believe him

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    • Anonymous says:

      There’s so few Caymanians that are in this industry. The majority are expats that are transient and leave once they’ve built their own homes and opened a business in their own country. If they like Cayman enough they may stay on longer for extra savings.

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  4. Anna says:

    What if if the doctors were under criminal probation for fraudulently covering up their breaches of the law and had been fined almost $80m for those breaches, and were going to cure your children’s cough by removing their healthy lungs and replacing them with fake ones that may or may not be rejected by your children’s bodies?

    Right… get it now?

    Tell that crooked lot to cruise off into the sunset and leave us well alone. VOTE NO!!!

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  5. Anon says:

    Even without any cruiseship traffic on our roads, they are already filled beyond capacity. Just look at all the long queues not just in the rush hour but all day long. What will it be like if we have another million or two cruisesheep on our roads, they will also be stuck for hours and instead of visiting the Turtle Farm, Stingray City or Pedro’s they will be stuck with walking around George Town all day, gawping at T shirts, “discounted” jewellery and sampling free rum cake. Time our politicians faced up to reality.

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    • Anonymous says:

      There will never be more per day than are currently here. The additional tourists will come in the summer when we now have slow season. So no additional traffic.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Uh yes additional traffic. When school is out it’s much better. Increase the number of cruise tourists in town and schools might as well be open. What if it’s both – then what? Complete and total daily gridlock, which will freeze the economy in place. If people can’t move around, they can’t get things done.

      • Anonymous says:

        Because the MegaShips are in dry dock during the winter? Or we’ll tell them ‘no, you can’t use the dock you built for the smaller ships that don’t need it, so please send your ships with more passengers, which you say are wealthier and spend more ashore, away so we can stick with the smaller ships with fewer passengers which you say don’t spend as much because they’re poorer’?

  6. Kurt Christian says:

    Vote No

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  7. Anonymous says:

    I am voting for my future. I’m voting no. I’m voting no not because of political reasons either. I didn’t vote for Barbara in GTS and whoever else runs in GTS if you were for the port you aren’t getting my vote either.

    My reasons for voting no are:

    1. I’ve always enjoyed swimming in clear blue water. Unlike other countries I’ve visited. Most countries you cannot see your feet when you are swimming, visibility is terrible and the sand is usually brown. The port will bring up silt and change the beautiful blue water downtown.

    2. I have children and hopefully one day I will have grandchildren. I would like them to enjoy the beautiful ocean as I knew it growing up. The port will destroy not just the coral reef but stir up too much silt.

    3. If the port is built they will only work with a select few local operators and squeeze every last penny out of them. Who really benefits anyway?

    4. Duty free and high end jewelry, cakes and goods aren’t what they used to be. Tourists can just order off of amazon or some website. We don’t need to protect them. Which millennial wants a Lladro anyway?

    5. Traffic will be worse during lunch hour when I’m trying to get things done. It’s already bad now. I don’t want to take a two hour lunch and tell my boss that I have to work the time later. I have children to pick up and spend time with. Actually traffic may be horrible in the mornings also. They can’t just corral them in an area and if they do, then they aren’t spending everywhere, just that area and then whisked off to a prepaid attraction where my cousin will make $1 per person because the cruise ship squeezed everything else or they just may open their own Cayman company and cut out all locals.

    6. Has anyone considered the garbage and the smell from the exhaust of the ships? The air in Cayman is wonderful ( aside from the dump downward wind) but add in the cruise ship smog. We are asking to all die at 50 from cancer ok ok maybe 30.

    7. The coral reef will be destroyed no matter how much they try to downplay it. Why are we destroying this?

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    • Anonymous says:

      At 5:23 – DITTO! and this is coming from a 26 year old young Caymanian. I’m voting NO! for all of these reasons!

  8. Anonymous says:

    This is a gross oversimplification

    This issue is entirely political you are talking about how we should put politics aside and focus on the merits or issues of the project
    BUT THE POLITICIANS ARE THE ONES WHO ARE CONTROLLING WHAT INFO THE PUBLIC HAS
    This isn’t a magical universe with perfect information where we can all set aside the personalities and make a decision with 100% of the information and trust in the veracity of that info
    The people who want us to back the project are the ones who control what information is shared or not, they are purposefully not releasing key data until after the vote
    Anyone who honestly thinks that this project should be considered without an updated EIA and published business case is loony
    Does anyone for a second think we would be having these public meetings if CPR didn’t reach the threshold for the referendum

    The CIG had no intention of defending this in public, they would have signed the contract already and said “too little too late, sucks to suck” just like they do with every other project they start

    This vote needs to be made not just on the port, but on whether or not you think it is okay for MLAs, and ministers to do what this person politely calls the government “screwing this up” They have had 6 years to get this right and they still managed to turn people off the project. If this port goes through, the MLAs will never have any reason to return to the public on any controversial decision, they will ignore criticisms and not back down under any circumstances confident in the belief that even if challenged they can just manipulate the referendum process and win the day
    I didn’t vote for an MLA so that I could be ruled from behind closed doors in Cabinet and once every 3-4 months have them pop into the LA to pass a slew of bills then slink out of sight for another 3-4 months

    Maybe you trust the MLAs that make up the current government benches but I and many others could never be that stupid
    The merits always sound good, because the people running the show backing the project for their donors control what information is released

    They have stuffed ugly reports and findings away before and I have no doubt they are doing so again

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  9. VOTE NO says:

    Nice try 101

    Not enough information in the public domain e.g no updated EIA and no final business case. The government have told too many half truths and lies in its propaganda campaign.

    Therefore it is easy to VOTE NO on Referendum Day.

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  10. Anonymous says:

    George Town is falling apart! I’m packing my bags and moving to East End, don’t check for me! Lmao

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  11. Watchful says:

    My biggest concerns are that our cruise tourism is already at capacity and adding another 800,000 does not make sense to me.

    Destroying an irreplaceable reef system in GT means less attractions for the tourists and threatens other areas.

    These big ships docking will cause additional damage through disturbing sediments every day.

    There are no financial guarantees that coral relocation will be successful, so you know that it will fail and is merely a ploy.

    Growing the population from 65,000 to 100,000 and then 150,000 and then 200,000 makes no sense. At some point enough is enough. If we cannot recognise this now we are dooming all future generations.

    Vote no to this madness.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, but also note: there is only one big ship, passing by once every two weeks during high season. Some 13,000 foregone head won’t get us from 2mln to 2.5mln anytime soon and we pay the difference on that widening spread as the prettier Eastern Caribbean Islands recover. We might loose 20 or 30% of cruise arrivals next year regardless of the port ref – and we would have to pay Verdant Isle the spread sans guarantees. It’s a terrible terrible curse of an idea. Hard NO.

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  12. Anonymous says:

    VOTE NO!!!!!!

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  13. Anonymous says:

    The truth is this referendum is voting whether we want Camana Bay or George Town to be the capital. If you pick DART over George Town so be it but don’t pretend it is just being disgruntled with government.

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  14. Anonymous says:

    You seem to agree that the government has done an extremely poor job dealing with various aspects of the port project to date. What makes you think that they have the ability to deal with the far more complex final design and construction phase in a more competent fashion?

    I am extremely concerned that Alden is undertaking another school building fiasco and have zero confidence that the CIG can manage a project like this.

    Can’t wait to see the construction change orders come in (outside the scope of the agreed DBM framework) and the CIG agreeing to either pay them directly or increasing the per passenger fee. The CIG are babes in the woods compared to Verdant.

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  15. Anonymous says:

    You assume that people are stupid. Nice try.

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  16. Anonymous says:

    I hear you 101. I will consider the project properly without the politics and right now I still feel like voting NO.

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  17. Anonymous says:

    You don’t get it. We need to stop pretending this is a democratic process or a mandate that was given. Cayman doesn’t vote for people, they have traditionally voted for one of two now-indistinguishable teams. Both camps historically lost seats and standing at last election, but sadly for us, were allowed to conjoin into a government. We aren’t under any illusion that there are distinguishable Parties any more. We need to change how the democratic system works, and who it is open to run. We need to improve oversight, transparency, and regulatory powers, not loosen them. The enactment of SIPL Law is pivotal to the future of a lawful Cayman where anyone might be proud to live.

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    • Anonymous says:

      If the last election didnt convince you that we need a true party system nothing will.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Neither cabel won. Despite PPM spending over KYD$500,000…donated by someone!!! CDP spent over KYD$300,000 and lost as well. Tara Rivers raised about $300 and somehow managed to spend $30,000!?! They are all morally bankrupt. Public record.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Sadly, if government has abused the people’s trust, and needs to be taught a lesson, then the lesson should be taught. Absent that, history will continue to repeat. The Caymanian people have an important opportunity to lay down a marker. It should not be squandered.

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    • Anonymous says:

      Respectfully, a better lesson would have been to have petitioned for immediate enactment of SIPL Law. It’s all related, and that would strike to the heart of any quiet ambitions.

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      • Anonymous says:

        Why petition for something already required by law (the Constitution)?

        If the politicians can ignore the Constitution, what does a petition matter?

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        • Anonymous says:

          You are right of course, but Voters can also democratically petition the Governor to compel the desired action. He has the reserve powers to enact all types of inconvenient legislation that have been quietly filed away for another day (or never). The governor cannot ignore a lawful petition from the people to enact required legislation.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Then how do we start this. I’m on board. I will sign the petition.

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          • Anonymous says:

            Do you think the Governor does not already know? Why is he waiting for an invitation to do his job?

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            • Anonymous says:

              150+ years of Governor’s veto power was actually cancelled by McLaughlin and McLean this week, without bothering to check with the voters…such a Petition would now have to be delivered to Lord Ahmad perhaps also suggesting we’d restore Governor’s powers immediately, and replace standing Governor with someone willing to referee the LA and exercise that discretion for the purpose of good governance. Enough is enough.

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  19. Anonymous says:

    A very respectable and balanced bit of advice 101. I’m still not sure how I will vote and I’m definitely very upset with the government but I can agree with one thing which is that we should keep those politicians ambitions out of this. Only thing you missed to say is that the government brought all of this on themselves…

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  20. Anonymous says:

    “The port project will not cure a disease and we are not recruiting doctors. But the project is a significant proposal for the future of this country”. I’m glad you recognize the sheer idiocy of your “specialised doctors to treat our children or friends for a rare disease” analogy. The public should indeed vote no or yes on the merits of the project, remember the port can be enhanced without destroying the underwater environment. Remember all of the empirical and scientific evidence – destroying the environment and 800,000 more cruise ship tourists cannot be beneficial to our country (more precisely our grandchildren)over the long term. Unless of course you are an oligarch who relies on consumption by the masses (or a greedy government in need of per head tax revenue).

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    • Anonymous says:

      1. no one is saying that the underwater environment will not be impacted – but neither will it be destroyed…

      2. it is impossible to enhance the port without some kind of impact on the environment. the goal of this group – whether you want to admit it or not – is to minimize that impact as much as possible

      3. 800,000 more cruise tourists – is actually only 2 or 3 more ships a week.

      4. 4,500 people are employed by this industry in cayman – lets see what happens to our country when they can’t pay their bills or feed their families.

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      • Anonymous says:

        You know it’s not 4,500 Caymanians. The 4000 of the work permit holders can just go home. The rest of the 500 Caymanians can be retrained to find new jobs. I would rather these 500 on social services than destroy our coral reef.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Exactly. Mass transit system would create many jobs. 21st century waste management and recycling as well. But you have start training and certifying people now. They would need to get some experience as well.

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      • Forelock says:

        The CEO of Royal Caribbean said these alleged 800,000 more cruise tourists are going to come in the summer months. If that were true, then why aren’t they coming already because the existing infrastructure is clearly already capable of landing them.

        No, this little sound-bite is just another lie.

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        • Anonymous says:

          Verdant Isle is a disposable shell company that hasn’t posted any security or performance bond, and there are no passenger guarantees, because neither the passengers, boats, or even home ports are planned/completed yet to accommodate their assumptions. None of those realities matter, of course, if you have a contract with a government promising to subsidize the widening headcount gap from wherever we will be in a couple years to the 2.5mln required for non-subsidy. It’s a suckers game, and the Unity negotiators already signed!

    • Anonymous says:

      …but even the cruise arrival presumptions are false. Where do MORE tourists come from if the boats don’t exist, and we have already agreed to unfairly restrict our port access from seven or eight ships a day during high season to just four boats for the “preferred” liners? Now that Eastern Caribbean is back on stream, we are also provisionally on the hook to subsidize the ever-widening gap from record 2mln arrivals last year to 2.5mln, to Verdant Isle, without any corresponding guarantee of passenger arrivals. Tens of millions a year in new CIG subsidies. This is a sucker deal approved by fiscally inept morons, who are so self-interested that they are likely proud silent shareholders of the shell company!

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      • Anonymous says:

        please attend a public meeting or watch one online. It is clearly explained that:

        1. all cruise lines will continue to come to cayman. there are no ‘preferred liners’
        2. there will be more ships/tourists in what is currently the slow season
        3. 4 ships can berth – but up to 2 others can also tender
        4. The port authority of the cayman islands retains control over the port and the ships itinerary
        5. there will be NO CIG subsidies
        6. CIG is not ‘on the hook’ for anything

        if you are going to make comments – please make them informed ones

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        • Forelock says:

          The point you are missing is that if the dock is built then there will be no tendering company to land passengers from those additional ships, so they will have to pass by, therefore it is highly likely that overall passengers will go down because CIG has handed Verdant’s shareholding cruise ship companies a duopoly.

          It’s also true to say that on Nor’wester days, no ships will stop because there’ll be no tendering operation to land them at Spotts. That’s another reason why total numbers will more likely go down if the dock is built.

          • Anonymous says:

            Someone else that gets it! There is no scenario where going from 7 or 8 ships to just 4 max, increases numbers or gets us anywhere near the 2.5mln we’d need to achieve non-subsidy. This project is designed to bankrupt us.

          • Anonymous says:

            BS. Utter BS. There are myriads of people willing and able to jump in for a smaller tendering business if the current owners decide to pack it in. Right now it is an absolute monopoly which they have suffocated for years. Granted the pie will be smaller but others will happily take it up.

            Remember THEM same ones told you Cayman is too small for 2 funeral homes and Cayman is too small for another propane company.

            See a pattern? So don’t come with no foolishness about these guys shut their tenders so we will now have less cruise passengers. One of you expats already probably done got dat lined up…

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          • Anonymous says:

            11:18 the point you are missing there is an expat waiting to fill the gap!

        • Anonymous says:

          I was at the CIG/VI public meeting. The number I noted was how many non-docking ships would be allowed per year. Did you notice it?

          (PS> And they wouldn’t be allowed to anchor either. They’d have to stand by on thrusters the entire day. Some ships already bypass Spotts because they’d rather anchor on the reef than stay on thrusters.)

    • Anonymous says:

      What a silly Viewpoint! The disease and the doctor is real however it will be our coral and the marine life in the Harbour needing medical attention. I am glad that our Opposition walked through our constituencies with the CPR groups to talk with the residents to education all of us on the real dangers being planned by the government.

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