Archive for April 1st, 2014

QC:Jeffers guilty not unlucky

| 01/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS):Andrew Radcliffe, QC, told the jury not to leave their common sense behind when they considered their verdict in the crown's case against Raziel Jeffers for the murder of Damion Ming in West Bay in March 2010. Laying out the evidence in his closing speech to the five women and seven men, the prosecutor said that the defendant was either guilty or the unluckiest man in the world who was the victim of a list of shocking misfortune and horrible coincidences. He said however, that the circumstances the defendant found himself in had nothing to do with bad luck, but it was because there was conclusive evidence that pointed to his guilt and the jury could be sure he had murdered Ming.

Reviewing the prosecution's case and the defense response to it, the crown's leading counsel said that the principle witness in the case, Jeffers' former girlfriend, was important but it wasn't the only evidence against the defendant as his guilt was apparent from other corroborating evidence that could not be explained away.

Although the revelations about Jeffers' conviction for murder, attempted murder and possession of an unlicensed firearm as well as past violent offenses was not evidence against him and had nothing to do with this case, Radcliffe said, despite being fairly convicted Jeffers continued to deny the allegations and insist he was falsely accused. This, he said, demonstrated Jeffers' inability to take responsibility for anything.

If Jeffers was not guilty, he said, then by his account it meant that he was for the second time being falsely accused of murder and was facing a list of coincidences as well as a revenge attack from a malicious witness, who had managed to guess accurately a number of things she could never have known as part of her campaign against him because he did not want to be in a relationship with her.

Radcliffe said that if Jeffers was not guilty, it would mean that not only were the police locking him up for killing his friend, but in a terrible coincidence, he had travelled back to West Bay on the evening of the killing and was just streets away when the murder took place. He said it would also mean that he left the area, by coincidence, just after the crime, and literally disappeared from the cell phone radar in a move, which was out of character for him, by yet further coincidence, for more than fifteen hours after the crime.

If Jeffers was not guilty, he said, it was just another horrible unfortunate coincidence that calls he made on his phone were to people at the crime scene just minutes before and minutes after the murder, when he had rarely called those people as a rule.

Worse, one of those calls was to a man known to be at the murder scene who was overheard by another witness stating that the gunman had called to see if "he was dead" just minutes after the shooting, and at the exact same time that the man's cell phone records demonstrated that the only person he had spoken to at that time was Jeffers.

In addition to his movements, tracking him to and from the crime scene and his calls to people at the location, the lawyer pointed to the evidence from his former girlfriend. He stated that she had given the police a detailed account of a confession that Jeffers made to her about killing Ming, the man he believed had been her lover.

The account was such, Radcliffe told the jury, that she could have onlyheard it from the killer and that for her to manage to maliciously guess or invent and piece together such accurate detail that turned out to be correct was impossible. He said her account was backed by the ballistic's evidence, the medical evidence and by other witnesses at the scene.

He described Jeffers as a controlling, sex-obsessed, lazy hypocrite who was incapable of taking responsibility for his actions. Jeffers, he said, was lying when he said he cared nothing about his former girlfriend, with whom he had never had a proper relationship, but he was consumed with jealousy and anger that  she had, so he believed, chosen to have an affair with Damion Ming of all people. Jeffers saw the mother of his child as his possession that had no right to be with anyone else, regardless of his own affairs, Radcliffe said.

Despite claiming Ming was not an enemy and making efforts to distance himself from the gang rivalry in West Bay, he had slipped during his time giving evidence when he had made it clear that he felt Ming was not hanging in the Logwoods area but with the Logwoods gang, and although he said Ming was his friend, he didn't go to his funeral and admitted that in the wake of the shooting he had expected the police to arrest him for the murder.

He said that Jeffers' attempts to portray himself as a kindly benefactor trying to helphis former girlfriend who was the mother of his child with whom he did not have a relationship, were lies. He pointed out the constant phone contact between them, how they had lived together and how she had gone with Jeffers every time he moved. He said his family had described it as a relationship, and shortly before the murder they had spent at least a week staying as a family for a holiday at his aunt's home in Ocean Club.

Addressing Jeffers' claims, supported by his aunt, that the couple were not at her apartment the weekend after the murder, when the crown's key witness claimed Jeffers made the damning confessions, he pointed to the telephone evidence. Radcliffe said that not only were their phones both using the exact same cell site for the entire weekend, the claims made by Jeffers that he was with another girlfriend were drawn into question owing to the extensive number of calls between the two of them, which suggested they were not together and accounted for all the telephone traffic.

He also dismissed claims by the defense that the key witness had lied for personal gain. Radcliffe pointed out that in four years she had cost the government around $80,000 to keep her in witness protection, which included her travel to and from the jurisdiction for the court case, equating to no more than $20,000 per year. He pointed out that she would not be supported financially forever by government and was expected to soon be self-sufficient. The lawyer said she had left the jurisdiction where her friends and family were and would now spend the rest of her life looking over her shoulder.

Radcliffe told the jury that they must judge the case on the evidence and that the choice was simple: either he was guilty or seriously unlucky. But luck was not the factor, as he said the evidence was conclusive and the men and women tasked to decide could be sure of his guilt.

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Social media trend supports cancer society

| 01/04/2014 | 0 Comments
(CNS): LIME Cayman is supporting the Cayman islands Cancer Society by providing an easy way for the community to take part in the ‘no Makeup selfie’ craze, which is also growing in popularity in other parts of the world. LIME customers can now donate $5 to the cancer society simply by texting #nomakeupselfie from their mobile phones to the shortcode 7465. The social media trend, which features self-taken photos of women with no makeup on, has exploded in the Cayman Islands recently with hundreds of ladies sharing their images au natural to raise awareness for the cancer epidemic.
 

“We recognise that people truly want to support this important cause and we are delighted to provide an easy, convenient solution for making a donation,” states LIME Head of Marketing, Julie Hutton. “This is truly a case of your mobile phone connecting you to the community where you live and work.”
 
The "No Makeup Selfie" campaign grew organically in Britain in recent weeks and ended up raising several million pounds for Cancer Research U.K. The trend has gone global as women “tag” friends and family from around the world, nominating them to snap their photo and make the corresponding donation to their local organisation.  You will be able to make your donation from your LIME mobile phone throughout April.  
 
 
LIME Postpaid customers will see the donation on their next bill and Prepaid customers will have the donation automatically deducted from their credit. For more information, visit facebook.com/LIMECaymanIslands.  

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Court gets new reporter

| 01/04/2014 | 0 Comments
(CNS): The Judicial Administration recently welcomed Ms Camar Clarke to the role of Court Reporter. Ms Clarke replaced Ms Kerri Francella, who has returned to her native home, Canada. For the last 7 years, Ms Clarke has been a reporter at the Supreme Court with the government of Barbados, where she is from. Prior to that she studied Computer Aided Transcription at the Barbados Community College. She is a member of the National Court Reporters Association and a current student of the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill), pursuing a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Sciences.  She carries a strong passion for the specialised career of Court Reporting and in her spare time enjoys vying for titles in local pageants, fashion and writing poetry. She is a mother of one daughter, Cariah Blu.
 
 

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System upgrade causes long delay in duty changes

| 01/04/2014 | 25 Comments

(CNS): Two years after legislators passed changes to the legislation governing how much tax people pay on goods imported into the country, officials have finally implemented the Customs Tariff Law (2012 Revision). The law came into force on 1 March, officials said in a release on Monday, a month after the implementation. The changes in the law introduce an internationally recognised tariff classification system comprising around 5,000 codes relating to different types of goods and commodities. The two year delay to its implementation has been attributed to the need for a new computer system at customs to facilitate the new harmonised commodity description and coding system.

The new transaction recording mechanism, the Total Revenue Integrated Processing System (TRIPS), is now in place and government authorities said it provides extensive reporting and risk assessment capabilities.

“This customized system has been in the making for the past two years and we are extremely excited about going live with it, knowing the operational capabilities it can provide to streamline, record, and assess our import process,” explained Collector of Customs, Samantha Bennett. 

Along with the more detailed tariff codes, there have also been some significant changes to the schedule of duty free items, with churches and schools now being required to pay their way. Import duty will now be levied under the 2012 law on building materials and goods for the construction of churches and school buildings, which were previously duty free in the Second Schedule of the Customs Tariff Law 2011.

Also equipment and requisites for a school which has been certified by the chief education officer and imported duty free will now attract the various duties depending on the duty rates within the law. Although notebook paper, composition books, specific school supplies and uniforms are now duty free under Schedule 2, a 22% duty will now apply on professional reference books.

Unsolicited gifts not exceeding $50 in value picked up duty-free at the Customs Parcel Post Section will also now attract import duties.  This will see people paying tax on their Christmas, birthday or other gifts sent by friends or family from overseas.

There is a reduction of 10% import duty on fully electric powered vehicles and electric motorcycles, including Segways, and a 15% import duty on hybrid vehicles and hybrid motorcycles.

Officials also revealed that fish, crustaceans and other aquatic invertebrates, such as lobster, shrimps and crab, will now attract a duty of 17% up from 12%.  Saddlery and harness for any animal, including traces, leads, knee pads, muzzles, saddles, cloths, saddle bags, dog coats and the like of any material, will also now attract 17% duty.

Overseas shoppers will also have to pay a blanket fee for any imported goods that attract custom inspection fees.  All loose cargo being imported through the ports and cargo in packages being imported by air will be charged an inspection fee of "15 cents per cubic foot or part thereof”. This change was brought about by repealing Part 2 of the Schedule 6 of the 2012 law and replacing with this blanket fee.  

The law has also allowed for several new tariffs to be effected for items such as nicotine, human organs and body parts, electronic cigarettes, and electric generating sets (wind powered).

The customs boss encouraged the public in general, large importers and brokers to familiarize themselves with the duty changes.

“Being familiar with the tariff codes when filling out the documentation for import clearances can transition the process more effectively and efficiently,” Bennett stated.

Full details about the new Customs Tariff Law changes can be found on the Customs website or by calling 949-4579.

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Jeffers stands firm, relatives accused of lying

| 01/04/2014 | 0 Comments

(CNS): Despite an intensive grilling from the crown and the exposure to the jury of his existing murder conviction, Raziel Jeffers stood firm in the witness stand on Friday and Monday, stating that he was not the man who shot and killed Damion Ming. He denied being at Ocean Club during the weekend after the killing and confessing to his former girlfriend, as the crown pressed him on telephone evidence that placed him near the scene and calls he made to people at 177 Birch Tree Hill just before and immediately after the shooting in March 2010. Jeffers’ father also backed his account of why he changed his phone following the murder and his aunt told the court he was never at Ocean Club on the weekend after the killing.

Jeffers told the crown’s prosecuting counsel, Andrew Radcliffe, QC, that while his movements may be consistent with the case the crown was trying to make against him, the telephone evidence also fitted with his account. Despite not formally filing his alibi evidence until late in the case, Jeffers said that from the beginning he had told lawyers where he was on the night of the killing. He said he was with friends in Vibes Lane and later a West Bay Bar and that he was never at Ocean Club the weekend following the murder, when the key witness against him says he made a confession.

He said that he had stopped using his phone the night Ming was killed as that was the night his ex-girlfriend had stabbed him with a pen and marked the point where the hostility between the couple had escalated.

Later that night he had gone to another woman’s house and turned off the phone he was using, which in any event had belonged to his ex, so she couldn’t bother him anymore. He said that his ex had also wanted that phone back, so the next day he went to his father’s place of work and got a spare phone from him. He then asked his father to deliver the phone to his ex-girlfriend, who was still living at his father’s house in Fairbanks.

Far from being consumed with jealousy over her and Ming, Jeffers told the court he was hardly spending any time with her at that point and their animosity escalated further in May, when she pelted a rock at him outside a nightclub. Jeffers' father then evicted her.

He said the witness went to the police and made up lies about him as a result of an accumulation of things and she wanted to harm him. He pointed to the eviction as a main reason, even though his father threw his ex out after she had gone to the police about the alleged confession.

Jeffers said he believed that the things she told the police about Ming’s killing were things which were on the street. She had a knack, Jeffers said, of picking up the local news and gossip quickly, as she was always on BBM and Facebook.  This, he said, was why he called her after he had heard about Ming’s killing at the house where they lived, as one of her best friends lived there. Despite their earlier altercation, he wanted to see if she knew anything, not to taunt her, as suggested by the crown, because he had killed the man he thought was her former lover.

He denied being a bullying and controlling boyfriend but painted a picture of a desperate teenage girl with no family of her own, nowhere to go, who had given birth to a baby that was likely his, and so he felt an obligation towards her. Jeffers said he had told her on countless occasions that there was no future in their relationship, and at the time of the murder they were hardly together.

Taking the stand as a defence witness, Jeffers' father, Eustace Jeffers, confirmed the account that he gave the court about the phone change. He denied lying on his son's behalf when the crown asked him about the circumstances of the swap and why he claimed to be the one to give his son's girlfriend the replacement phone.

Jeffers had said that the phone silence after the murder for some fifteen hours was because he had turned it off so his ex would not bother him. He had then not turned it back on. He had made or received close to 200 calls and messages before it suddenly went dead. He took his father’s phone the following day and so then resumed his usual heavy use of the phone.

He said the calls he had made to various people at 177 Birch Tree Hill just before Ming was gunned down were to see if people he knew there were going out that night. The calls after, he said, were to find out what had happened.

He denied getting through to one person at the scene, who was overheard after the killing stating that someone had just called him to see if Ming was dead. It was evident from telephone records that Jeffers had made a call to that person at that exact time. Jeffers said he had not spoken to the man but got through to his son, and the father never came to the phone. 

Jeffers had also denied being at Ocean Club the weekend his former girlfriends said he made the confession. Despite the phone evidence placing both Jeffers and the key witness in the same cell site across the two days, the defendant pointed out it was also the same cell site that covered the area where he was, which was at his new girlfriend’s house in Prospect.

Jeffers' aunt was also adamant when she gave evidence that Jeffers was not at her apartment or her daughter’s apartment, which was next door at Ocean Club, during the weekend after Ming was killed, even though the crown’s witness had claimed that this is where Jeffers had made his confession. Bonnie Anglin said she couldn’t remember seeing his former girlfriend either, and that she would remember that because spending time with her was always eventful and not easy to forget.

Anglin also revealed that his former girlfriend had been infuriated by Jeffers’ rejection of her following the incident outside a nightclub just before his arrest, where, she said, they had fought and his ex told his aunt that she was going to “fuck him up”. The defendant’s aunt stated that his former girlfriend had told her she was going to go to the police and “tell them just want they wanted to hear and put him away for the rest of his life”.

His aunt denied the crown’s allegations that she was rallying around with the family to help her nephew.

The prosecutor asked why she had not gone to the police when she knew the allegations were based on a confession allegedly made at her apartment in Ocean Club,  having such critical information suggesting it had not been. She said she was incensed the police had not verified anything with her.

Anglin told the court that it was well known in Cayman that the police don’t investigate crimes but simply pick a suspect and do what they can to build a case around that person without seeking out the real information. She said that if she had gone to the RCIPS to say the confession could not be true as Jeffers and his ex were not there together at her apartment as alleged, they would simply have dismissed her information. The aunt said that, instead, she had written everything down about that weekend shortly after Jeffers was charged in preparation for what she believed would be the day in court.

The trial continues in GrandCourt.

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Deputy governor smooths road to naturalisation

| 01/04/2014 | 28 Comments

(CNS): The procedure for becoming a British Overseas Territories citizen will become easier and faster, the deputy governor has said, as a result of review of the application process, which he recently directed. Franz Manderson said the changes were part of the “cutting red tape” initiative by making efficient use of the internet and simplifying the application for naturalisation. The new system, introduced Friday 28 March, reduces the number of visits to the government building and halves the timeline it once took to become British. 

“I asked my staff to re-engineer the process to make it more customer-friendly and to process applications in a reasonable timeframe," Manderson stated in a release from his office. "It was achieved by simplifying the application form, using the internet and removing unnecessary bureaucracy,” he added.

The oldsystem involved a minimum of four visits to the government administration building but the new system will require only two: one to place the completed application in a drop box and, if successful, one to take part in thepledge ceremony. Applications will be processed within two to three months, reducing the processing period by about four months.

The major changes include a new and simpler application form and guidance notes for the forms can now be accessed online on the office of the deputy governor’s website. Alternatively, the application form can be picked up at the government headquarters on Elgin Avenue in George Town.

Completed application forms can be placed in a drop box in the foyer of the Government Administration Building between 8.30am & 5.00pm Monday – Friday with cheques or a banker’s draft payable to the “Cayman Islands Government” for CI$825 for adults & CI$450 for children.

Certified copies are now required for all documents except Police Record & Travel History.

The staff at the deputy governor’s office are still available to answer queries on 244.2441 / 244-3181/244-2403 or email botc.odg@gov.ky.

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New recruits knuckle down to business of policing

| 01/04/2014 | 3 Comments

(CNS): The 13 RCIPS recruits that turned up to start their induction Monday have now been sworn in as police constables and have started their 16 weeks training course ahead of their life on the beat. Their training will see the rookie officers cover a wide range of police work and important elements of the law as well as the RCIPS code of conduct and ethics in law enforcement, the bill of rights, providing an initial response to accidents, victim and witness support.

They will deal with searching individuals, premises, vehicles and open spaces, as well as arresting, detaining or reporting individuals.

Other subjects to be covered include: core criminal law subjects, forensics and crime scenes, managing conflict, conducting investigations, interviewing suspects, victims and witnesses, and First Aid.

Eight of the group already have either an associate’s degree from the University College of the Cayman Islands, are still working towards an associate’s degree, or have spent some time studying at this level. One is in his final year at the Cayman Islands Law School and another is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in criminology through the University of the West Indies Open Campus.

The trainee constables come from a wide range of different vocational backgrounds, including nursing, insurance, accounting, the hospitality industry and professional sports. A few have already worked for the police as civilian staff, or in the special constabulary.

Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis who headed the committee responsible for the recruitment process said that this is the largest number of successful candidates to be Caymanian or have permanent residency.

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Officials release draft laws to tackle stalking

| 01/04/2014 | 9 Comments

(CNS): The Law Reform Commission (LRC) has released two draft bills that will criminalize and help tackle the problem of stalking. The legal drafters are seeking input from the public on an amendment to the penal code and a separate Stalking Bill. The drafters have spent some time wrestling with the definition of stalking and how best to legislate against such behaviour and reduce the potential harm. The laws deal with unwelcome visits and communications, silent calls, repeated following on the streets, watching a victim’s home or work, persistently sending unwanted gifts or articles, disclosing intimate facts about a victim to others, making false accusations, damaging property or physical and verbal abuse.

The LRC proposes to respond to theissues by way of a consultation Penal Code (Amendment) Bill, 2014 and a Stalking (Civil Jurisdiction) Bill, 2014 which will criminalise and provide remedies for such conduct. The bills cover categories of stalkers such as someone rejected by the victim, predatory stalkers, debt collectors, erotomanics, love obsessed stalkers, sociopathic stalkers, stalkers with false victimisation syndromes, as well as disgruntled clients or employees of private or public organisations and cyber-stalkers.

The objective of the legislation, the drafters said, is to reinforce the point that actions which constitute stalking may cause psychiatric and psychological harm and may result in serious dangerto the person affected. 

“It is in the best interests of our society to take immediate and effective action when cases of stalking arise,” the LRC said in a release to the public about the laws.

Stakeholders and the general public are invited to provide comments on the draft legislation. Unless marked to the contrary, the LRC will assume that comments received are not confidential, and that respondents consent to their quoting from, or referring to, their comments and attributing their comments to them, and to the release or publication of their submissions. Requests for confidentiality or anonymity will be respected to the extent permitted by the Freedom of Information Law, 2007.

Submissions should be forwarded in writing by post or hand no later than 5th May, 2014 to the Director, Law Reform Commission, Ground Floor – dms House, 20 Genesis Close, George Town, Grand Cayman, P.O. Box 907, Grand Cayman KY1-1103 or emailed to cheryl.neblett@gov.ky

See the proposed draft laws below along with the original consultation paper.
 

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Ex-top cop gets secret payoff

| 01/04/2014 | 76 Comments

(CNS): Former police commissioner, Stuart Kernohan, who was sacked during the discredited internal police corruption enquiry, Operation Tempura, has been given a secret pay-off to settle a legal claim that he was wrongfully dismissed. What is understood to be a significant sum is being kept under wraps even though the public purse has picked up the tab. A short joint statement released by officials from the attorney general’s chambers and Kernohan's lawyers, Campbells, confirmed the settlement but officials said the deal was confidential. Speculation mounted Monday that the payoff was in the millions but secrecy surrounding the agreement prevented confirmation of the sum.

The short release, which came from Campbells office, stated: "The Cayman Islands Government and the ex-Commissioner of Police Mr Stuart Kernohan have agreed to settle their involvement in the ongoing civil matter. Mr Kernohan served as Commissioner of Police from 2005-2008 and the Government wishes to thank him for his commitment and service to the Islands."

The mystery payout comes on top of the cash government spent fighting the legal claim to date, which was filed almost five years ago, and on trying to prevent Martin Bridger, the senior investigating officer on the ill-fated Tempura probe, from using material he acquired in the wake of the enquiry to fight the claim Kernohan had made against him as well.

It also adds to the growing costs of the overall Operation Tempura tab, which has been footed by the public purse and has included a $1.275 million claim paid to Grand Court judge, Justice Alex Henderson, a pay-off to Rudy Dixon, the former deputy police commissioner, who was caught up in an unrelated element of the Tempura probe but who was paid off, and the cost of the investigation itself, as well as numerous other legal battles.

The governor's office has also spent considerable amounts of public cash fighting the information commissioner in an effort to keep the lid on a report documenting a complaint about the interference with the internal police probe filed by the legal advisor on the case, Martin Polaine, and Bridger.

It is not clear if Kernohan is continuing his claim against Bridger or whether this settlement also means an end to that legal challenge, which saw the Cayman Islands Government (CIG) engaged in costly courtroom fights with Bridger as it sought and succeeded in preventing him using documents that he had acquired during the course of the probe in the defence of Kernohan’s suit against him.

Kernohan, who was the police commissioner between 2005 and 2008, until the UK covert cops came to Cayman, was dismissed while suspended from duty as a result of what Bridger believed was his part in a burglary at Cayman Net News to look for evidence of a high level police leak to the owner, the late Desmond Seales. Although Bridger established within weeks that there was no corrupt relationship between Seales and Deputy Commissioner Anthony Ennis, the investigator decided Kernohan and the then RCIPS chief superintendent John Jones had colluded with John Evans and Lyndon Martin, reporters at the local paper, in what was essentially an unauthorized break-in to the newspaper's office.

Kernohan and Jones had both insisted, however, that they had cleared the entry into Net News with Attorney General Samuel Bulgin, as well as the governor at the time, Stuart Jack, and the overseas territories advisor, Larry Covington, and had documentation to support their position. Bridger has since stated that he was never told that Kernohan had got the nod from his bosses for the entry and had he known he would never have launched the costly investigation that flowed from his belief that an offence had been committed.

During his time on suspension, as the investigation dragged on, Kernohan's father became very ill and passed away. As a result, the suspended cop returned to the UK and then declined to return to the jurisdiction for a number of reasons, including his concerns about how the investigation was being conducted and as he believed the governor had no authority to order his return to Cayman while he had been placed on required leave. However, the governor thought otherwise and sacked Kernohan in November 2008 and less than six months later Kernohan filed suit.

The case then dragged on with a number of twists and turns, including Bridger’s attempts to defend his position in the probe as it related to the cause of Kernohan’s suspension, in particular the documents which Bridger had retained when he left Cayman, which related to the investigation.

A legal battle came down in Bulgin’s favour when a judge ruled that Bridger was not allowed to use the documents as they were not his to use.

Although this could be the last major law suit that the CIG has to settle in relation to the fall out of Tempura, the amount may not remain secret for long. CNS has submitted an FOI request for the sum and although that will be refused, because the cash comes from the public purse, government will have to account for the money in a line item in the budget.

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