DENNIS JOSEPH WEEKLY: UWP – A short history of action, transaction and illusions

Dennis Joseph

In the twilight years of the Dominica Freedom Party and during the struggle of a deflated Dominica Labour Party to ‘pump up our volume’ a new bunch emerged. They loudly called themselves the United Workers Party.

The UWP demonstrated a relentless surge toward their goal with a display of ‘Fear no more’ advertising and promotion techniques that razzle-dazzled the electorate causing even Granny to utter in creole, “Yo ni un force oui papa” (They have a powerful drive). Bob Marley’s ‘One Love’ was a rallying musical call to all the disillusioned of our land and infused with an almost miraculous life force they stormed through the political firestorm and in just 7 years  moved in 1995 into the government seat.

The UWP was then a party of action and its quick trigger “tou patou” all over approach to development caught the national imagination. It seemed the UWP would be in government for the next umpteen years until as Granny would say,” Cock grow teeth.” In 54 months a confident UWP called for elections and they were kicked out.

But the energy did not fade and they appeared to be still the action party expecting to be back in office by the next poll. It did not happen  but something else did.

The party in its change of leader struggle became a party not of aggressive outward action but of inner transaction and in the transaction period passed leadership from Edison James, to uh..uh..perhaps Julius Timothy but after  bitter name calling  settled on Earl Williams instead who promptly vanished in disgrace and so in great haste to a reluctant even unprepared  Ron Green until  it has come full circle to a reluctant Edison James again and even some wonder if this is closure.

It is that period of transaction that caused the party to have divided focus and lose the next elections. It seemed all was lost and “diwi cho all fall down” would replace the Workers song.

Yet when  a few months later the Edison James clarion question from the platform, “Mr. Skerrit do you have an interest in (certain luxury) lilac  villas?” rocked the Labour Party administration and threatened a meltdown, it appeared the UWP was back on horseback and the DLP would  soon be taking a dose of disappearance without   water. Then the PM consolidated his move and he took them to the next level. He gave them a target they could not ignore – a radio show with controversial hosts-as he slid away into the background. The special hosts called themselves folk tale animal names like Lapere and Tig; the opposition labeled the radio shows   “the animal program.”

But while the political theatre runs on a daily basis with the same political gladiators throwing out accusations and allegations at each other the people look upon the spectacle and ask, “What next for Waitikubuli?” Is it General Elections campaigning all year round in and out of season? Will there be a change of government and even so will anything change?

Those who advocate change would do well to understand that real change must first take place in the heart and minds of the people. If the UWP is to make a significant dent in the tight hold of the administration on the next elections they must move back into aggressive mode with new voices, new faces well organised outings, and try to regain first blood.  The old must become new again.

Battling with the “animal program” has been a trip to nowhere. That battle has worked for the PM in 2009 and still does. The UWP must assertively push forward its leader as the alternative and insistently show how he is better for the job not just assume that people know. Elections season is no more than 30 months away. The focus must be on  plans for the development of Waitikubuli because a UWP ‘Let’s outdo Tony’ addiction can turn reality into a rose coloured illusion as it did in 2005 and 2009 elections.

Yet the Labour Party should be very careful. The PM implies that  his large collection of ministers are not fully working, we know  the economy is not  working, the last Commissioner knows  the police force is not working properly as he tells us  officers are in bed with drug dealers, the Public Works is not working, tourism is hardly working, the farmers bitter experience is  that agriculture is not working and our youth have given up looking to find work but on the other hand VAT is working, the underground drugs and money laundering economy is working, the bobol and illicit gains factory is working and the passport business is thriving.

Yet despite all of this everybody seems to be shrugging “So what, who else?” It is this “so what, who else” attitude from the people that breeds arrogance.  But that kind of arrogance brought about by too many easy successes can have its price and could cause an addiction to power which can itself create a rose coloured illusion of invincibility.

According to the Chinese saying, “The same water that floats the boat can sink the boat.”

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  1. oyeyo!
    July 14, 2012

    He Said nothing! Waste of time and distraction!

  2. Anonymous
    July 14, 2012

    It is good to speculate ,but the writing is on the wall .Last election the dfp and the uwp could only muster 12 candidates each .They could not even pretend to offer representation to the 21 constituencies .It is like having a team of 5 people on a cricket team .So how was each party going to win the 21 seats to represent the whole country .Then only one party won only 3 seats members of these parties began a campaign of negatives .

  3. poe-ki-toe
    July 13, 2012

    some valid points were brought up in this article Mr. Joseph. I’m a mere 26 yr old who has voted for the current government twice, the first time because all my family told me too, the second because I wasnt confident in the opposition. Sadly, I’m still not, and to add insult to injury, I have lost faith in the DLP as they appear to be shady. We really need a serious makeover in our leaders.

  4. July 13, 2012

    not bad…something for the people of dominica and its political leaders to think of…i believe the government of dominica should be changed, but; where and who is the alternative?

    July 12, 2012

    I like this one Dennis. A brilliant piece and in fact very timely on a day when the leadership of the UWP is in a tail spin of twilight daze from being outmaneuvered by psychology the PM. The UWP meant well and did a lot when it was a well-organized, youthful and energized political force. The party’s action-oriented community- based approach to development in ensuring that something was done in every nook and cranny was welcomed by the people and the Party delivered a lot in quick time.

    The Party was overconfident and time was regretfully cut short to continue the good work. Following the defeat at the polls due to a well organized machinery of lies of corruption, and the unforeseen opportunistic marriage of former opponents, the Party succumbed to its own self-inflicted internal wounds brought about by a change of leadership from Edison to Earl. From that point on, the word “United” was undermined and removed from the “Workers”, while greedy men began looking for themselves. The loud and unfounded lies of corruption interrupted the sweet melodies of the “Party” and as you have so correctly noted, the relentless surge of optimism, the confident roar of ‘Fear no more’ was put to the test and silenced.

    To my mind, this single issue started the slow demise of the UWP and I have always felt that had Julius Timothy and his group lead by the Former Labour Party Minister of Trade, old man Ducreay, displayed a more mature and responsible approach, the Party would be strong and who knows, instead of being a sideline after thought who is not trusted in the Skerrit’s cabinet, Julius could have been Prime Minister today.

    I join you in sounding a word of caution to whoever would listen. If you live by the sword, you shall die by the sword. If you live by arrogance, that arrogance will take you down. The same force that brought about by too many easy successes (not can) but will soon have its price as it has long caused an addiction to power which creates a false rosy illusion of invincibility. We are not fooled and it is not too long in coming.

    There is hope. There is still no need to fear. There are strong soldiers to keep the fire burning without fear or favour with pride, a promise for transparency, accountability, real hope for economic prosperity, filled with enthusiasm even though aging with wisdom and humility.

    The fight will continue- there shall be new blood and in deed the same water that floats the boat today will soon dry up and sink that deceptive boat tomorrow. The same fire on which the lies, disrespect and deceitfulness are prepared for personal consumption and enjoyment will soon burn the kitchen in which the mess is being cooked.
    ROSEAU VALLEY will be in parliament and will serve on the Public Accounts Committee. Like Lennox Linton, I am declaring my availability, whether or not the PM declares the seat vacant in the ROSEAU VALLEY. I am ready to join Lennox, who will be the Parl. Rep for the Vieille Case constituency.

    Obviously, I cannot join the Skerrit’s party. But without a doubt, in me-there’ll be no corrupt representation for the people of the ROSEAU VALLEY.

    Therefore I can’t say whether it will be Freedom, PARA, PAPY or UWPee, For I am still contemplating the possibilities, aware that unlike the PM’s confident roar – it is not up to me but the people of the constituency

    But then again on reflection neither Lennox nor I qualify to be a politician in this country
    As we won’t accept bribes and engage in Bobol as citizens with integrity

    Furthermore, we don’t care to own villas, buses and heavy construction equipment companies. We are honest hard working men, who wouldn’t pay for votes as honourable gentlemen

    We won’t buy tickets for overseas nationals and pay votes with building materials, cigarette and alcohol. We can’t disrespect the Constitution, nor will we engage bin and fertilizer Bobol and corruption.

    Furthermore, we cannot look our fellow men in their eyes and so boldfacely distort truths into manufactured lies. So unfortunately, the electorate Hod Vieille Case and Kai Ché may reject us. For these days they seem lost without a sense of purpose, pride and focus
    I am afraid the PM’s wishes may well come true of us losing our deposits, for what is good -our people do not cherish

    Given the opportunity, I would promote the natural beauty and resources of the ROSEAU VALLEY, even though Lennox Linton would be the next Minister of Trade and Tourism

    For too long now corruption, crimes and lies are rampant. Therefore, my brothers and sisters of Vieille Case and the ROSEAU VALLEY, we are in- whether or not the seats of Skerrit and Mc. Intyre are declared vacant for the next general elections.

  6. Ericx
    July 12, 2012

    Why doesn’t Domlec feature in this whole scheme??
    They making off like bandits. SMH

  7. Greenredblue
    July 12, 2012

    The UWP needs new and young blood Eddo have Hector like a popet on a string let the young man show his protencial his first years as leader of the opposition was spent out of the house how can he learn they have him demonstrating all over Roseau for what we dont know Eddison is very selfish person its all about him they will never get back into goverment changes need to be made

  8. fact check
    July 12, 2012

    Great men rise and then fall and so do leaders. The continued arrogance of this current leadership is a testament that their tenure will end in disgrace and defeat. The red clinic will eventually dissipate and so will the beneficiariess of this Sherrit run program. When the DLP was on it’s last leg, they could not defeat UWP and so they formed a so-called coalition with a few defectors such as Timothy and Banis which resulted in a victory for them. There is a false centiment that they will be in power as long as they please, but when the poeple who are struggling can’t see any light at the end of the tunnel, they will change course.

  9. July 12, 2012

    Everyone has their opinion on this article and I support their views and feedback. However; Mr. Josephs ideas and concepts presented in this article can be important, but secondary.
    His views on both parties points towards an awakening. As I read this article, Mr. Joseph is more or less tyring to convince we the people of Dominica to bring about a shift in our conciousness. No one is asleep in Dominica. Intelligence is tainted by madness, science and technology is on the rise and destroying the human mind and the planet. We cannot control what is happening. It is the New World Order’ in which things are being done(no more of the past rulings)and Dominica is not too small an Island to feel this collective dysfunction. We only need to watch the daily news to realize the madness that is going on. Humans are inflicting unprecedented violence on themselves. They persist in behaviors that, if continued can only result in their own poverty and destruction.
    Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit is not the problem to this world madness, UWP is not the answer,”So who else” will not bring the change that we keep searching and looking for in Dominica. “It is those who advocate change would do well to understand that real change must first take place in the heart and minds of the people”.

  10. Real
    July 12, 2012

    Yo pay dis sa yo vle’ let’s see who wining next election,,all who vex will migrate,,more years to come,,,hahaha,,we love our pm,,

    • 1979
      July 12, 2012

      Dominica filled with sorry excuses for human beings like you, “all who vex will migrate”???? Dominica is not only yours….. in civil war people like you end up with their heads on a pike… FOOOOOOOOOOOOLL!!!

      nobody can make RMS go back paix bouche!!!

      same way NOBODY CAN RUN DOMINICANS FROM DOMINICA.. to put who ???? chinese? hatians? spanishman?? AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.. I will die first!!!

    • too hard too long
      July 13, 2012

      This forum is for discussion not maypwi.

    • Sharon
      July 13, 2012

      @ Real

      all the other people who commented before you wrote intelligently wether they were supporting the writer’s viewpoint or not. hwn it came to your comment the level of intelligence in the flow of comment dropped. You have simply narrowed this to straight street politics talk. We need to learn to comment intelligently so that we can have meaningful conversation and learn from each other

  11. July 12, 2012

    i love your article mr joseph i like all what u say dominica needs a good opposition party right now for there are no opposition party skirret is doing what he wants no one cant stop him no one in his own party cant stand before him i just cannot believe what is going on in my country angelo and mike took out the freedom party but this one they cannot do nothing talking on radio this time will not take them out mike is now rowing boat and angelo is all alone i support your article a100 % i cant what for the next one

  12. July 12, 2012

    I am impressed with this piece. It would appear that you have taken my suggestions.I requested some fireworks and I believe you are getting there.I want the UWP fellars to take note.Remember the saying,” the man with the master plan.”Them UWP fellars should utilize the services of the man with the master plan immediately, before the DLP beats them to him.We are all aware of what he did for the Gaylords, DBS radio, the John Labor Party.I am sure had Seraphin used him instead of the guy from Antigua,he too, would have benefited from the man with the master plan.

  13. Anonymous
    July 12, 2012

    we definitely need a new party wheres chrispin gregoire or griffin st helaire we need to start planning now the uwp is not ready they has never been and they will never be ready lets forget about eddison james

  14. Rosy
    July 12, 2012

    Nice, nice.

  15. yep
    July 12, 2012

    i love this piece!

    brilliant article

    …but unfortunately most Dominicans don’t read.

    perhaps next time you can put it in song. one of them bouyon versions.

  16. Dominican for life
    July 12, 2012

    This article have some serious stuff.
    Again it surely show’s that no political Party in Dominica has serve the people of Dominica better than the Freedom Party.
    The only hope left for this country is the Freedom Party.
    Mr. Joseph what are your thought on the Freedom Party?
    Do you see them as a party of choice to bring Dominica back?
    Whether you support them or not.
    What are your thoughts?

    • Former Freedomite
      July 12, 2012

      Is there a Freedom Party? Didn’t Mamo kill the party when she left government and took i tot he grave with her? The outfit Judith is leading is by no stretch of the imagination the Freedom Party of yester year – the party of Eugenia, Moise, Armantrading, Jno. Charlesetc.

      • Call'n Freedomites
        July 13, 2012

        That’s why we need a re-bith of the Freedom Party!! Let Freedom ring from every valley and mountain tops in DA. Think about it: the DLP was more or less dead/dormant for a number of years. BUT, then they came out of the wilderness. The DFP needs a new leader. I don’t know Ms. Pestina but she is not charismatic. She is not energizing. We the hard core freedomites need to formulate a re-birth. We are not happy with the DLP and we do not trust the UWP. We are on the sidelines watching and talking but not acting.

    • Malgraysa
      July 13, 2012

      Would support you in the time there was a freedom party. It did not renew itself, nurture young offspring, and all I hearing now is the sound of an old skeleton rattling in te wind. Great pity.

  17. CIA on the watch
    July 12, 2012

    DJ, if the UWP does not see the common sense in this article and move to the next level like you suggested, well they are better off packing up, I listen to Hector John in defense of that consultation issue, and all i could say is this the 21st century politics that we can get from the official opposition? As a supporter of the UWP we need to think outside of the box now, Mr James you need to be in charge now or we will loose miserably again

  18. A Voice
    July 12, 2012

    This article is on point. I tend to agree with this one Mr. Joseph.

    The Dominican populace is taken for granted by both those in power and those hoping to get into power.

    The Labor Party needs a bad wake up call and the Opposition is in no way ready to take the reigns of power. Where does that leave the electorate?

    We need a new party; one with good vision and clean hands…

  19. 1979
    July 12, 2012

    HUH?? how come we reach right there already?? Mr. Joseph pressed fast forward?? While the article has it’s merit, there is a noticeable incoherence as Mr. Joseph plays hopscotch from era to era, we haven’t even begun to touch on the 70’s era, where gunshots tore the flesh of born Dominicans all so that those who play the political game could hold on to their death-grip on power. we need to be reminded of the folly of power-drunkenness, because if we forget history we are DOOMED to repeat it. So much for the anticipation of a history lesson.

  20. Truth B Told
    July 12, 2012

    Dennis you forgot to mention how the UWP, while in office managed to nearly destroy Dominica. In there just over 4 years they managed to run the treasury dry… halt all development in the country… a cause a virtual shut down of the private sector. Those were some dark days indeed. Thank God the UWP is finished and Dominica can continue along the path of development and prosperity for all!

  21. sayodityodit
    July 12, 2012

    I must say this is a well written article. Alot of points and information were brought out that is good food for thought for those concerned.

  22. JD
    July 12, 2012

    Dominicans are a special brand of people you just never know what they are thinking that’s why politicians always be thinking of what the people want. The PM is ahead on that one!

  23. dissident
    July 12, 2012

    U forgot to mention de miserable loss that de DLP suffered in de Buy-election that the same DLP called.

    If de people really wanted Julius Timothy to lead UWP and become PM then y is he accepting the lapdog position. De only difference I see is that he getting better paid to not represent and be a good ‘lapdog’.

    In 2000 the leaders 60’s and 70’s re-emerged on the political scene. From Para to Rosie to Athie and Pierre Charles, even Bernard Wiltshire and the other voices and faces of the 80’s political landscape. Julius Timothy and Earl Williams doh have place in dat. Dat is y they were sidelined. Even Charles Savarin was sidelined by the DFP.

  24. Sisi zeb
    July 12, 2012

    Well put Dennis. And you should know because you engineered the succesful landslide general elections for the DLP in 1975.You were “The man with the master plan”.

    And then within a few years we saw Patrick John do the same thing that you are complaining about here: getting carried away, trying to make all kind of deals and going around arrogant in a Colonel’s uniform no less etc. etc..

    The difference between then and now is that the Dominica Freedom Party were working like wood ants all over the island even if they had no access to any radio station and No internet.

    They also had a real alternative leader in the form of Eugenia Charles. So people felt that there was someone credible to replace PJ with.

    Today the UWP just sits in a studio in Roseau and barks at the public every morning and they have no leadership to point to as an alternative.

    Thanks for making us think about this.

  25. monkey
    July 12, 2012

    long Live The PM and the DLP Government!!!

    This comment is pro-Labour,Please Delete as usual.

    • 1979
      July 12, 2012

      why would you call yourself that??

  26. too hard too long
    July 12, 2012

    Mr Joseph,
    Congratulations on this thought provoking piece. For those of us who are not so politically aligned that we cannot see, you have stated our feelings and opinions quite clearly. Both parties have a big problem – UWP is weak and DLP is blinded by their seeming invicibility.

    There has never been a more opportune time for the UWP to gain popularity than there is now. They need to stand up and take up the challenge. I believe that if they can provide a convincing front the UWP will be a formidable opponent in the next election.

    Dominica deserves the strong and effective leadership that will lead to progress. We demand that both parties step up.

    • Hod Kai Ché
      July 12, 2012

      I agree, the UWP is weak and they definitely lack leadership. The DLP does in fact seem invincible since they have the support of the energetic youth, the labourers, the productive intellectuals and the wise elders. With the vision and vigor displayed by the Labour Party it is doubtful the confused, leaderless, lackluster UWP will ever rise again.

        July 15, 2012

        Even if UWP had the strongest leadership ever, you would still not support the party because you never did. You have never supported the UWP progressive agenda. Norris did his best to serve the Valley but those like you Hod Kai Ché never supported him. You need not comment on the leadership of the UWP or whether the Party will rise again as you will not be part of that rise in any case. Stick to your glowing praise of the assumed invincibility of the DLP and your King Lord Skerrit.

        Eustace Francis, Henry George, and Norris Charles all benefited from huge support of the energetic youth, the workers and the productive intellectuals and the wise elders of the Valley. This was an era when the Roseau Valley had hard working, grass root, honest BOBOL free representation. Say what you wish about people like Henry George and Norris Charles, these men were never involved in corruption and Bobol like Garbage bin Bobol, fertilizer Bobol, exploitation of the young ladies in the constituency for money nor did they and divert government funds for construction of private building projects in Fond Cani and Trafalgar or distributed tons of large amount of cash in the Valley to buy votes and loyalty of poor people. Unlike the present Parl. Rep, both Henry and Norris spent time socializing with the constituents, understanding their plight and working in their best interest. Moreover, Henry served under Dame Eugenia and Norris served with Edison both leaders who respresented Dominicans with distinction and respected the people and the Constitution of Dominica. I feel for Collins but I am disappointed that he could not resist the temptation of power as a Minister of Government. He has become corrupt just like or even more than the others.-Unfortunately, he and all of them have to go. I will shall continue to rant and rave until the Roseau valley gets the kind of Representation it deserves.

    • Nac Vibes
      July 12, 2012

      I so agree with your statement, UWP most show more alongside all their efforts to expose the wrong doing.
      They should have learned by now that shouting corruption in hope is a spent idea. I cannot stand the nonsense this government is doing and I suspect alot of others feel the same so come on UWP put your house in order and give us the alternative we deserve—PLEASE?

      • July 12, 2012

        This is a well deserved article lots to take into consideration we have two main parties right now DLP & UWP one of them will form the next GOVT at the next general election, now who will DOMINICANS support and will it be because they like or dislike the individual for the PM office or will the people vote because they believe that the Country should be first and not someone who have an ego or just want power I want us DOMINICANS to remember POWER is corrupt especailly when in the wrong hands. How I see it the OPPOSITION PARTIES should be more forcefull and decide who and what calibre of persons they want to attract they have to get out of the office show themselves preach the messages that the people want to know about it is high time they should be in campaign mood their is nothing stopping them Mr.James you have been given a chance to bring your party forward take you position people want to hear and know what your will do once you get in there dont indulge in “Tit for Tat talk” rise above it and chart the road ahead, I would also like to see the FREEDOM PARTY moving forward and if it comes to the point where we form partnership please dont allow it under the DLP administration we are in enough trouble as it is right now.
        OPPERSITIONS Parties should be out there educatiing the people the public about what they would do to bring the Country back to the place where we should be we know it will be task but the lack of support of the DLP in the diaspora have droped they cannot depend on D’ICANS outside to come in and save them this election around it will be those at home who will decide which Party they see as change.
        The talk shows hosts are doing their part but as OPPOSITION PARTIES dont depend on them to do the work for you pull up your boots and keep digging we need to hear more.

      • Malatete
        July 13, 2012

        The UWP is ineffective as the opposition force we truly need. Forget about Edison James, the electorate has made it clear since 2000 that he is not their choice for P.M. and his continued presence as a de-facto leader of the party is a turn-off for most people. The current focus on negative comments on the performance- or non-performance of the DLP, even if true must change and start concentrating on a new plan forward instead. The impasse of just sniping at one another is just that,a stalemate that gets us nowhere and must be broken. The ruling party should be chasing the opposition, trying to keep up with refreshing, postive new thinking that will keep it guessing, for ever on the back foot. Only that will bring progress and nurture renewed enthusiasm from a people that is browbeaten and tired. Right now we have a scenario of two dogs fighting over a well-gnawed bone,one over-fed and the other looking distinctively mangy, while the rest of the pack has passed them by. If not, both the UWP and DLP will wake up one day facing a new puppy that they did not see coming but that will outrun both of them.

    • Reader
      July 13, 2012

      Actually, I see this as a perfect opportunity for the re-emmergence of the DFP! I am so turned off by the political style of the UWP and its supporters. Their M.O is simple: if you don’t support them then you are a begger; getting your fill at the red clinic; you are not a patriot; and the list of insults goes on and on and on. It’s off putting, isolating and downright disrespectful to hard work strugglers like me that have never once gotten a hand out for any government. The UWP comes across as bitter and angry and, instead of fearing no more, I am fearful of them.

      Then there is the constant cloud of suspicion that’s always over the head of the DLP. Allegations after allegations. Surely, they can’t all be wrong! Added to that is the culture of mendicance they have created. Massive unemployment! Feelings of hopelessness! I could go on and on.

      So … what does that leave us? A void! A void that can neither party is capable of fulling. This creates the perfect opportunity for men and women of integrity who are not affiliated with this current madness to step up and breath new life into the Dominica Freedom Party! We need the Freedom Party again! The DFP is the only viable alternative to this current mess.

    July 12, 2012

    …And those who have ears let them hear!

  28. LATITUDED810
    July 12, 2012

    mr joseph for once i will aggree that this is a well written article.the uwp keeps doing the same things over and over, lennox and angelo programme is an amusment show they do not have the answers againt labour party, however labour has to be carefull as you said acording to an old chinese saying ” the same water that floats the boat can sink the ship”. mr skeritt is talking about a 1% levey on citizens to finance yes we care this is a no no in a tight economy like dominica, he has to watch it.

    • Loner
      July 12, 2012

      RE: the 1% levy on citizens to finance the yes we care program is another good initiative by the PM. Our elders took care of us and now it is our time to give back.

  29. real possie
    July 12, 2012

    I like this one it hit every one,the last line is so true hope all those politicians stop to think about that line stop taking dominicans for granted.

  30. charlie
    July 12, 2012

    so true

  31. Dominican overseas
    July 12, 2012

    Are you planning to contest the next election.

  32. Jespen
    July 12, 2012

    Nicely put

  33. phucet
    July 12, 2012

    I thought you would have mention the suden passing away off two prime ministers,just cross my mind.

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