Women in Action (WIA) – GIS Issue

Women in Action (WIA) network of organizations and individuals advocating for the closure of the Government Industrial School (GIS) Barrows facility and the reform of the juvenile justice system, emphatically rejects the suggestion made in an interviewed aired on the CBC Evening News on 16th May, 2022 that claims of physical, sexual and psychological abuse made by current and former wards of the Government Industrial School (GIS) are ‘simply rumours’.

WIA is saddened by the shameful attempt by the Barbados Government to marginalize the voices of the girls crying out for help by handpicking two former wards to glorify their incarceration and to justify the abusive environment in the GIS that has existed for the past thirty-two years. In choosing to promote only positive experiences while ignoring the trauma of other girls who are crying out for help, the authorities are indicating that they do not care about all of the girls, and this is unacceptable.

We are making our position clear, if one child is abused it is one child too many and should be of concern to every one of us. Ultimately a society is judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens. We expect that our children, though being reprimanded, be treated with dignity and afforded the opportunity to be rehabilitated. The two former wards interviewed are not cases that we are overly concerned about because by their recollection, they did not experience or witness any abuse.

It is however the first time we have heard a young woman who was incarcerated as a child recount the experience of being placed in a cell in solitary confinement with such smiles, laughter and gaiety, and yet with no mention of an activities that she enjoyed in passing the time incarcerated. The sentence of three to five years for wandering is so normalized that going from a three weeks sentence to a three year sentence was accepted in the adult mind of this young lady as fair and deserving. That is the impact of systemic abuse.

As a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Government’s handling of juveniles is governed by the UN Standard Minimum Rules for the Administration of Juvenile Justice and the UN Guidelines for the Prevention of Juvenile Delinquency which provide that no child should be placed in solitary confinement. We are well aware that this International Convention has not been incorporated into domestic law and is therefore limited in its application in our domestic courts but that failure to follow through and commit ourselves to a standard of care for children speaks volumes about our Government’s true intentions for the nation’s children.

It is an insult to the intelligence of Barbadians and to our sense of dignity to attempt to drown out the cries of our youngest citizens calling for help. We recognize the desperate attempt to vindicate the Government by trivializing and ignoring the complaints of the abuse meted out at GIS. We stand firm in our position, the authorities will not make these girls and young women invisible, they will not be allowed to trivialize the pain, shame, nightmares and suffering that still plagues them.

Women in Action (WIA)

Spokesperson: Tempu Nefertari
Email: womeninaction.bb@gmail.com


146 thoughts on “Women in Action (WIA) – GIS Issue

  1. Why would you even ask me that…i have 2 websites, a book and quarterly magazine outling all these crimes against Black humanity from 1600s-present…..seems like ya reaching..,only this morning i had to call things as they are….but you will never see that one…happened elsewhere…

  2. Cuhdear Bajan, we do not know whether or not this man was abuse as a minor, which more than often perpetuates the cycle of abuse and victimization. Take the case of the American Serial Killer John Wayne Gracey, whom had been severally molested as minor, and whom molested and murdered more the 40 kids in the late 70s, and early 80s. Now the statistical data is categorical; most molesters (male or female) were themselves molested at some point in their childhood, which perpetuated the cycle of victimization.

  3. Should we remind them:

    ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN STOLEN VAT…could have fixed GIS and given those girls and boys a fighting chance instead of more stigma from nigas,., but was written off and the thieves given a free pass

    Another 1/2 MILLION or more that tax cheats REFUSED TO PAY…and was written off… ditto

    Another 5 BILLION DOLLARS missing from the economy ….according to the expert

    All the money that tiefing Cow and his dangerous ilk were allowed to RoB the treasury, and NIS…to build MULTIPLE mansions and a club house pool area at Apes Hill that the new owners DUG UP…

    another 124 MILLION from NIS went to 4 seasons scam…never repaid..

    Another bunch of millions went to a golf course in Rockley something to do with the DPP deceased…it’s in the Auditor Genersl’s report that they ALL IGNORE

    The HUNDREDS OF MILLIONS unaccounted for and the AUDITIR GENERAL stilll crying for accountability…

    I could go on and on about how Black children are robbed generationaly, victimized and disenfrnchised by black faces and their thieving criminal partners..,therefore their future is still DISMAL….92 YEARS LATER..

    Has the pensioners received their money yet…..,.shite priorities…

  4. Did i mention the vaccine scam..,that would have SKIMMED another at least 48 MILLION DOLLARS from the treasury had it been successful…..the KIDS at GIS were not even given a second thought..

    St. Lucia still have not gotten back their money… 7 million dollars from Mrs Maloney’s crooked husband.,,

  5. Cuhdear Bajan,

    And it is interested to note that when we look at psychopathy, we see the hereditary and environmental etiology
    at play, and this does not goes without saying that the environmental factors in quite a few of the American serial killers, came about as a resulted of abuse ( sexual, emotional or psychological and neglected), but the literature also shows by an overbearing and dominating mother.
    The Green River Killer, psychopathy is attributed to his dominating mother, whom he fantasized of having sex with and murdering for the manner in which she treated him as a child.

  6. Another bunch of millions went to a golf course in Rockley something to do with the DPP deceased…it’s in the Auditor Genersl’s report that they ALL IGNORE




  7. In all of that…am sure close to or more than 8 BILLION DOLLARS got frittered away by crooks and traitors,.just in the last 25 years alone…has anyone seen or heard any mention of the island”s Black children or the kids from GIS in any of those thefts or give aways..

    ..all these vicious beasts visit on the majority population is more and more poverty, misery, hunger and bondage to keep them at the very bottom of the socio economic ladder INDEFINITELY…..

  8. Dompey,

    And you are stupid.

    I am never delusional. Some will be saved quickly and others slowly and yet others not at all.

    Whether we spend the money trying to save them with therapists and social workers etc or spend it on policemen, judges and prison officers, WE SHALL SPEND IT!

    I prefer to spend it trying to save AND ACTUALLY SAVING those who can be saved.

    And YES, there will be savings! For when we save one young person, we also save their future offspring. We then have productive citizens instead of dead weight.

    Cuhdear Bajan,

    Refer to above.

  9. Now we are being bombarded with silly lies and multiple stupid excuses directed at dumb fowls and those who suffer with short memory syndrome..

  10. We get it. We got receipts
    Barbados is a duopoly
    Barbados is a slave society and not African
    Barbados is Mia’s fault

  11. “Some of these children may require a decade’s worth of psychological /psychiatric care”
    This may help
    Healing Sexual Trauma

  12. “One of my many siblings worked for years in the UK hospital where Jimmy Saville “volunteered” and took opportunities to abuse children.”

    I heard rumours from a couple of school girls about 50 years ago that Gary Glitter had a room in his house that was converted into a sweet shop where he used to invite and groom girls

    Jimmy was known to touch up girls who sat on his lap but it was different times back then and people used to laugh about it

  13. I vividly, remembered a Police Officer who is still in the Force as I speak, engaging in an unguarded sexual relationship with a minor in the early 80s, and this Illicit relationship was known to the Top Brass of the Force at the time. However, only way the Top Brass got involved is when the Officer breed the minor, and then they started to inquired as to the minor’s birth certificate, but the inquiry was subsequently pushed under rug.

  14. This minor whom I knew quite well as well as her brothers, was quite rebellious, and very disrespectful to her mother, but by the time the minor begun to rebelled against her mother, her father whom were significantly older than her mother had passed, and I have no doubt that the passing of her father contributed significantly to her rebellion against her mother, and the development of this Illicit relationship with this Police Officer, whom were practically twice her age at the time.

  15. I am not afraid to say that this officer is a friend of mine today, but in retrospect, at that time, I saw nothing wrong with this illicit relationship between this minor and this officer because as a preteen, I thought this was normal ( naivety) but when the fellas ( the officers) started talking about it, I knew then and there that something wasn’t quite right about it.

  16. Baje grow some balls and speak the truth which truth is this your version?Tell us have you or many others on here ever set foot at Barrows or the GIS? I certainly have not.Yet two ladies who have come forward and speak of their experiences down there and i am hearing they are lying.Why? Is it because their story does not fit persons who have never been down there narative? As stated by Artax correctly stated i am not jumping on anyome, s bandwagon.After the enquiry has concluded and the facts are clear i would form an opinion not before.If there was abuse by the staff then they should feel the full weight of the law if not then a lot of persons on here would have egg all over their faces and not for the first time.I gone.

  17. With all the lies fowls are telling and MOST believe government is also telling just as much or more about abuse at GIS….there is a video out there refuting those lies, some apparently have evidence…expect nothing less from useless fowls..and tge pokitical masters.

  18. Barrows was next to my village.

    Passed it on my way to the Post Office on Benthams. Could get from home to the PO just using cart roads.

    Probably went by my navel string on my way there

    Hello Barbados

  19. CCB pushing foster care programme

    The Child Care Board is on an aggressive campaign to get Barbadians involved in its foster parent programme.
    This initiative forms part of the outreach activities during this month which is designated Child Month.
    For the last three Saturdays, members of the board were at different locations: Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St Michael; Massy Warrens, St Michael and yesterday Emerald City, St Philip, just off the entrance of the supermarket.
    “We are trying to get [people] signed up for the foster care programme. We do need foster parents. Foster care is a family based care for children who can’t stay in their homes or are at risk of staying at home with their own families. So what we would do is to get persons in their community who are interested in having a child in their care to come under the programme. We train them; assess them and have police checks and if they are approved we place a child in their home,” said Senior Child Care Officer Alicia Leslie-Payne yesterday at Emerald City.
    “These children generally come from the community or from children’s homes that have a risk factor
    going on such as their parents having a challenge that they can’t take care of the children,” said Leslie-Payne, as her colleagues Treenia Hurley and Shawna Griffith assisted with distribution of flyers with guidelines on how to get involved in the foster care programme.
    “If you have unconditional love you will be willing to accept a child that has some challenges and work with the child. We don’t just throw the child at you after you were assessed [successfully]. You also have an officer assigned to you to work with you in that family. It is not ‘put the child there and never look back’. You do get support. Your officer visits you by our legislation at least once a month and in certain cases two or three times a month will contact you on the phone. Our assessment is very thorough,” Leslie-Payne said.
    There are 16 children, 11 girls and five boys currently in foster care noting that when they reach 18 years old they are no longer under the Child Care Board.
    A workshop is slated for those who signed up for the programme next week Saturday.

    Source: Nation

  20. Hopeful for changes at GIS

    Barbados celebrates having female leaders in the highest posts in the country. There was a time when women could not work, could not vote or own property. So this represents a significant advancement for women’s rights and roles in our society. I am proud to have lived to witness it. But having female leaders in the highest posts is not enough if it doesn’t translate to greater protections being implemented for vulnerable female groups.
    Within this context, I was disappointed by the silence of the Prime Minister and many of our female ministers of Government (except for Dr Sonia Browne) over the last year on all the negative incidents and reports emanating from the Government Industrial School (GIS). I was therefore grateful this week when our Prime Minister spoke publicly for the first time on the issue. I am grateful that she acknowledged the need for changes at the institution. I am grateful that she spoke of the urgency with which the changes need to be made.
    The Prime Minister represents a powerful and very influential voice and I have witnessed that when she gets involved in an issue, positive changes result. This certainly proved true of the industrial disputes that occurred in 2020 with the former employees of the G4S, the Cliff, the Barbados Beach Club and LIAT, to name a few. When Aunty Mia stepped in, there was a positive outcome for the workers. I am hopeful the same will occur with respect to the changes needed to both the legislation governing juvenile cases and to the operation of the GIS.
    One of the changes I wish for the legislation is the removal of the mandatory three-year period that juveniles must be committed to the GIS. Pursuant to section 11 of the Reformatory And Industrial Schools Act, a magistrate who commits a child to the school must order the child to be detained for no less than three years and no more than five years. This removes the discretion of the magistrate to order what may be an appropriate period of detention of the child based on the child’s particular circumstances. If the school is truly a reform institution, then why must the child be forced to stay there for no less than three years? What of a child who rehabilitates within
    three or six months? Why must he or she be forced to stay there three years?
    This is punitive rather than rehabilitative.
    Sentencing concern
    Except for more serious offences, including but not limited to murder, manslaughter or killing, there is no minimum sentence that a court is required to impose on adults. Instead, most criminal legislation states the maximum sentence allowed for the offence, and the court has the discretion to order a sentence less than the maximum. So why are our children being treated more harshly than adults where sentencing is concerned and being “doomed” to minimum detention periods of three years which may, contrary to the guidelines of section 41 of the Penal System Reform Act, fail to take account of the particular circumstances of each child?
    I also wish for changes to the Juvenile Offenders Act. Magistrates should be required to use committal to a reform school only as a last resort, and (a) only after having previously used on at least two occasions any of the other nine penalties allowed by section 16 of that Act; (b) only after obtaining a pre-sentencing report which supports the committal; (c) only where the child or parent is represented by legal counsel, which can be facilitated through Legal Aid. Furthermore, sentencing a child to a reform school should be subject to the judicial guidelines on sentencing found in section 41 of the Penal System Reform Act. We cannot show adults more leniency than we do to our children, who are rarely fully able to appreciate the errors and/or consequences of their ways.
    Given recent developments, I am hopeful that the much needed and overdue changes will occur, and soon.
    Michelle M. Russell is an attorney with a passion for employment law and labour matters, as well as being a social activist. Email: mrussell.ja@gmail.com

    Source: Nation

  21. The Barbados Slave Code
    The Barbados Slave Code, passed by the parliament of Barbados in 1661, was officially called, “An Act for the better ordering and governing of Negroes”.
    It was purported by the authors to be for the good and protection of the black people, who they said were, “ . . . of barbarous, wild and savage natures, and such as renders them wholly unqualified, to be governed by the Laws, Customs and Practices of our Nations.” This document, the first of its kind, prescribed brutal punishments and was the blueprint for enslavers the world over. The Barbados Slave Code went on to say that, “ . . . it is absolutely necessary to the safety of this place, that all due care be taken to restrain the wanderings and meetings of Negroes and other slaves at all times, more especially on Saturday nights, Sundays and other holy-days, and their .
    . . keeping of drums, horns, or other loud instruments.” For a number of years drums and musical instruments were also banned at inter-school sports. The criminalising of girls for the offence of wandering is, perplexingly, still a thing. And, very recently, late night and weekend COVID-19 curfews had people wondering if COVID-19 likes to party.
    These contemporary measures were also reasoned to be acts for the better ordering and governing, primarily of Negroes. Could it be that the Barbados Slave Code of 1661 is a model for more than just earlier slave societies? Or, could it be a part of who we are somewhere deep down inside, which still rises to the surface today? Do modernday black authorities channel the spirit of the white plantocracy of old? Or, maybe it is that the people of Barbados inherited some of the barbarous, wild and savage attitudes of their enslavers?
    When I think on the ongoing saga within our juvenile incarceration system, the practice of jailing girls found guilty of wandering, many of whom are simply trying to escape abuse, and allegations of abuse within institutions, I have to ask myself, “Is this who we are fuh real real?” If it is, even in part, it is certainly not who we have to be. But transformation does not always come easily.
    Especially not if you are in denial.
    Disciplining children
    I can’t help but recall
    the stories I’ve heard from older folk about the creative brutality employed by some oldtime Barbadian parents.
    Even today some look back on elders whipping their children with electric cords or the window stick and call it “discipline”. Where did they learn that? A few years ago a God-fearing Barbadian told me that corporal punishment was absolutely necessary because we are born in sin and you have to beat the devil out of children.
    You often hear people say, “I get real licks when I did young and I turn out all right.”
    The first thing I think to myself when I hear this is, “You sure you all right?” And the second thing I think is, “What about those who surely didn’t turn out all right?” But there is a school of thought that you “Beat dem young so the police doan have to beat dem later”. If this is who we are, then we not only embrace the idea of preemptive beatings, we also embrace the idea of police beatings. And maybe even the idea of beatings from the staff of other institutions.
    It’s a matter of perspective, I guess. One man’s idea of discipline is another man’s idea of abuse. You can’t tell some old-timers that what they went through as children was abuse.
    And some people believe the abuse of slavery and colonisation brought Africans closer to God.
    Some people may believe that if you end up in the hands of the police or the juvenile incarceration system you should just tek wuhevuh yuh get because you must not have gotten enough of it earlier on in life. These people hardly ever say that you didn’t get enough love or need more care and attention. That is not yet a firm part of the Barbados Code. But, God, Government and the people willing, it will be. Especially if we are not in denial and determined to create new models.

    Adrian Green is a communications specialist. Email: Adriangreen14@gmail. com

    Source: Nation

  22. Read mrussel carefully.
    This illustrate a problem with Barbados.
    Mia was MIA (missing in action) for months, but it was only after Mia spoke that mrussel found the ̶̶b̶a̶l̶l̶s̶voice to politely mention Mia was Mia whilst planting a wet kiss on her …. ewww

    Fear walks the land.

    • Mia was not missing, it was widely reported she was on a trip to Washington to prep financial stakeholders, recently she was in Guyana with the HOGs etc.

      Here is the question, are we comfortable with a maximum leader? It seems if a transport board bus runs out of diesel we should call Mia.

      We should try to move our level of governance to the point we hold all stakeholders in the process accountable.

  23. It is not often that I am wrong (once in the past 3 decades -my estimate) but I will confess that I was wrong about AG. What I thought was a blind squirrel often unable to find his nut is in reality a very clever writer.

    He approaches the problem at GIS from a different angle to others and like a skilled surgeon exposes the ugly foundation of GIS .. Take note if the word wandering
    “it is absolutely necessary to the safety of this place, that all due care be taken to restrain the wanderings and meetings of Negroes and other slaves at all times, more especially on Saturday nights, Sundays and other holy-days, and their …”

    He falls-off the bicycle afterwards, but that paragraph alone is worth the price of admission.

  24. OK Adrian I hear you but also there where parents who gave the child a stern look and that was enough
    School discipline was one of the harshest that I remember
    Punishment included lashes across the butt or in the hand with leather straps
    Standing outside in the hot sun
    Kneeling on the wooden floor next to.the teacher sometimes on continuous days until.the teacher was satisfied the punishment fit the crime
    School.in those era.produced well known educators some who became PM and head teachers doctors nurses and lawyers even professors at University all throughout the Carribbean
    Not going to school for many brought on a silent fear but not going was not an option by the parent or administrators or principal
    In today such fear no.longer exist children have the option parents can tell the teacher what to do
    Children do not have to show any respect when entering the doors of the educational system
    Trying to correct methods which were wrong have gone awry
    Measures to correct ways of discipline Children have been.placed in the hands of soci experts leaving parents to learn and listen trying to figure which model is correct to discipline the.child text book or social media
    Children today no.longer act and behave as children but have become models of a one size fit all society brand of discipline
    Yesterday era of discipline was wrong
    Today’s discipline still trying to figure out which way to go.when Jimmy and Mary throws temper tantrums in the grocery store when a favorite product is not handed within their time limit of immediacy
    Trying the stern look doesn’t work either

  25. In the eyes of Tron, Mia is a Goddess. When a leader has a stranglehold on its people, it’s advisable for them to use their choice of words with great caution. It is also wise for journalists, lawyers, and members of her cabinet to delay passing comment until Mia speaks. Mia is the state and has the power to do as she pleases.

    Michelle M. Russell employs words such as “hopeful” and that she was “grateful” that Mia has finally spoken. These are not the words one would expect from a “social activist”. These are the words of someone who is cowering in fear at making pronouncements which may be misinterpreted by Mia and her adoring flock.

    Fear has always walked the land in Barbados and will continue to do so until we dismember the slave code and create an afro-centric constitution construed by the masses. Ask yourself the question: is Mia a fit and proper person to administer the rewriting of our constitution?

  26. “When a leader has a stranglehold on its people,”

    The people are starting to push right back, heard a video clip this morning to the effect that if they continue fcuking with them and their children, they will see what the people are really made of…told ya vote beggjng nigas and their imps/fowls and pimps are bad for Black people and potentially for EVERYONE ELSE…

    With all these contrived shite awards that clearly went to their heads, they obviously forgot who they are where they came from and HOW MANY know it…,no one with intelligence will sit quietly by and let their families watch them being pushed around, not in this era…2022….this is NOT the 1930s…they will bring the war TO YOU.

  27. Was Mia on a year long trip
    The issue was in the public domain for more than a year it was only after many voices were heard speaking about Mia silence that Mia unlocked her lip almost a year later

  28. AC there just ain,t no pleasing you dems at all.You and others was on here vlaiming Ms Mottley was tslking for all the ministers not allowong them to grow and function
    Now she has not spoken you snd the regular gloom and doomers want to know where she is and why has she not spoken.Unbelievable! Whst do you dems really want?No wonder you all suffered two 30 to 0 defeats bunch of confused amd angry people.Get over it or you will suffer another thrashing.I gone.


  29. https://barbadostoday.bb/2022/05/25/organisation-says-gis-ward-bouncing-between-solitary-confinement-and-psychiatric-hospital/

    From BT
    “We remain concerned that without some kind of intervention by the judiciary or the executive…, this child will soon be returned to solitary confinement, and so it’s a revolving door. You take her to solitary confinement which has an impact on her mental health and then you put her back in the Psychiatric Hospital where she gets better and then you put her back on solitary confinement where her mental health again fails,” Hinds lamented

    Having people declared insane or passing them through a psychiatric hospital is one of the well known methods of discrediting an individual.

    This common tactic was employed against Yugge Farrelin St Vincent

  30. Are these sexual predators being labeled by society? Is there a sex offender registry?

    It is funny how your thinking changes with the passage of time. My friend who used to go after young girls would explain it by ‘little pilchards got big eyes’. Even then we felt it was wrong, but we did not think of it as harming the girls. Now, I would report him to the police and parents.

  31. You did not think of it as harming the girls????????

    How old ARE you? This harm was known shortly after men stopped living in caves!

  32. Victory for Safe Space
    A judge has ordered the immediate removal of two girls from the Government Industrial School (GIS) in Barrows, St Lucy, following some highly-publicised incidents tied to the correctional facility.
    At least two sources told the Weekend Nation that the teenagers are to have no further contact with the institution after a series of clashes between them and employees that included escapes. Another girl is still on the run after being sent to the Psychiatric Hospital about four weeks ago.
    “The decision could impact the other girls who are still institutionalised at Barrows,” one source revealed.
    When contacted yesterday, Dr Marsha Hinds, founder of Operation Safe Space (OSS), which has been fighting to legally get two girls rehoused from GIS, speaking shortly after the High Court ruling, said the decision would affect how children who were in need of care were to be treated.
    “We are satisfied that it is a significant win for all of the children in Barbados in need or care,” she said.
    Gag order
    However, she pointed out that OSS could not disclose the specifics of the judge’s decision because the court had issued a gag order on the parties involved.
    “It is a significant decision for all of the children in Barbados in need of care.
    “While I am not in a position to disclose the specifics of the order made in relation to the clients that the OSS has been working with, I can say that we are reading the court outcome as a significant step in the right direction, in terms of children who are in need of care in Barbados.
    “It is a success for children in need of care and the way that they are treated and categorised in Barbados,” Hinds said.
    “We are taking the outcome of the court proceedings as a significant step in the right direction to be able to offer support in line with international best practices for children in need of care.”
    OSS, through its attorney Anya Lorde, took the matter to the High Court in May after two girls, aged 13 and 14, had absconded from Barrows.
    Upon surrendering the girls to police, OSS immediately filed a constitutional motion as well as an interim motion to have them rehoused from Barrows pending the outcome of the constitutional motion.
    However, Acting Justice Barbara Cooke-Alleyne ruled that the court did not have jurisdiction to overturn the decision of the magistrate who placed the girls at GIS.
    OSS appealed and the Court of Appeal sent the case back to the High Court to be heard before another judge on a certificate of urgency.
    The matter was heard by new High Court judge, Westmin James, while Principal Crown Counsel Marsha Lougheed of the Solicitor General’s Office represented Government.
    As a result of yesterday’s ruling, Hinds, a child advocate and former board member of the GIS, who has been fighting for years for changes at that institution, said they were also confident of having a favourable outcome in the constitutional matter.
    “Hearing of the substantive matter is to continue shortly and we believe that we will prevail in that as well,” she said. In that motion, OSS is questioning the legality of the charge of wandering, and also the way children are treated and categorised at the GIS.
    Meanwhile, Hinds stressed it was important for parents to seek legal representation for their children.
    “We want to remind parents that it is very important for children in need of care and in conflict with the law to be represented by legal counsel.
    “We also want to remind parents that this is a service that is offered free of charge to every child under the age of 16 who is in conflict with the law or in need of care through the Legal Aid Services department.”
    The decision comes at a time when the departmental inquiry into the GIS was due to conclude last week.

    Source: Nation

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