Barbados’ future handicapped by a One Leg Economy

Indar Weir, Minister of Agriculture and Food Security

At least one minister in the Cabinet of Barbados gets it. Barbados will not or cannot support our standard of living given the traditional heavy reliance on tourism. 

Listen to Minister of Agriculture Indar Weir’s 2-minute side-burst from 1hr:12min of his presentation on the floor of the House (24/01/2023). As a member of Cabinet in a parliamentary system that is bound by the convention of collective responsibility, the cadence of Weir’s delivery suggests there is disagreement with his government’s approach.

51 thoughts on “Barbados’ future handicapped by a One Leg Economy

  1. What economy? Where has been this singular leg?

    Whether the slave economy, the agricultural economy, the tourism industry, the offshore mal-economy or the long-dead light industrial pretensión, the underlying philosophical construction was always the same.

    That ‘sameness of a sameness’ was always totally dependent on the vagaries externally dominant. There’s even a deeply held narrative justifying these emerging slavery formations.

    These same people who love these self delusional mouthing can never be expected to see their so-called democracy and a real economy as fellow travelers. That democracy is essentially about economy – not politics or the waste of time spent voting. And therefore, without economy, equitably shared, a democracy can never be said to exist.

    We also see the darling of Washington Consensus thinking, Mia Amor Mottley, in Argentina this week. Where the Argentines and Brazilians have a group of their citizens working on a regional currency to displace the USD. After calling for a committee to study emerging tectonic shifts, a fair conclusion is that the lie about everything the White people have given has won the race before the truth about a lived ‘radical transformation’ could have slipped on its shoes in Bullbadus.

    Well the Brazilians and the Argentines, and others, are seeking to end the economic slavery of Washington and the West. We are left to wonder how a so-called Bajan economy and its elected dictator will thread the needle of Western economic slavery and the freedom from such which the vast majority of the peoples of the world are intent on ditching. This is existential.

    A few things have long been clear. One, that Bajans, in spite of the republican nonsense, will be the last to leave that sinking ship of debt slavery which passes for economy. Two, as the quintessential chattel slaves, that pervasive dependence on mental capture avoids any timely escape.

    Those who support this direction of travel should be required to tell us what were/are the net benefits of having this one leg for these 70 years.

    Forgive any Spanish or Portuguese word imports that maybe.

  2. Even in the days of slavery, Barbados was never a one leg economy.

    Both Trade and Agriculture underpinned our economy.

    Trade was dominant, 9:1.

    We developed a third and fourth leg with tourism and manufacture which stabilized the stool on which we rest our bottoms.

    We added a fifth and sixth leg with construction and offshore companies.

    Money laundering and limited water will take out the fifth and sixth legs.

    Manufacture has more or less been killed.

    Tourism seems sound.

    Maybe tying the manufacturing sector to tourism would be a good idea.

    Trade needs to be investigated and agriculture needs to be reinvigorated.

  3. “A few things have long been clear. One, that Bajans, in spite of the republican nonsense, will be the last to leave that sinking ship of debt slavery which passes for economy. Two, as the quintessential chattel slaves, that pervasive dependence on mental capture avoids any timely escape.”

    That is really too bad for them…they have had the last decade of many many opportunities given to escape and instead, like true slaves, doubled down…not a fella who was watching will shed a tear.

    You know when ancestors show us the way for years and years and we reject it repeadly out of disrespect, malice and love of the evil dirty hands of politicians , they turn their backs eventually …cause they got better things to do…well hope they are now enjoying the view of the turned back. I am.

  4. How many copies were sold for
    “A Spectacular 21st Century Economic Collapse of the First Slave Society in the Caribbean During an Exodus to Our African Ancestral Land, While Battling Quislings.”
    it seems like the Author lost her mind a long time ago

  5. Let’s just say it’s popular and there is demand for the content…now you can drink champagne to that and celebrate for me…..i drank mine last December in celebration…damn fine champagne too….gotta go with crystal or dom next time…celebrate all the strides and progress that are happening… 2023…they are numerous and following one after the other…..some days the flags on both sites look like in front the UN building in NYC…i dont boast…..but since ya asked. Wouldnt have said a word if ya hadnt…cause it’s not about fame….or fortune..that i can put my hands on at any time…but none of that interests me…that’s for shallow, white damaged minds …

    To me it’s par for the course…i put in the work and enjoy the rewards…very much worth the effort and extremely satisfying doing something selfless, with no colonial stench attached…….now you know.

  6. Well I never thought I would live to see today! Do you remember when our economy was based on agriculture and manufacturing, with little emphasis on tourism? In other words our economy was diversified.Then the so-called economists and socialists opined that those industries were aligned to slavery, especially agriculture and so more emphasis was placed on making the quick buck from Tourism. Back in those days all the sugar factories were working, Grazettes and the Harbour Industrial sites were booming with activity, we had WIBISCO, National Bank, Husands Wrought Iron, Solar Dynamics (long before the term “climate change was coined)… and I could go on and on with how much we achieved out of practically nothing. Bajans were employed and because of our critical mass, the coffers of the NIS and Ithe Treasury were full. Back then we had our social programs in place with more than enough to spare.What has happened in the past 30 years that has brought a proud and hard working people like Bajans to this stage? Successive governments continue to borrow at alarming rates thus crushing the Barbadian spirit of innovation and creativity by inflicting the pain of exorbitant taxes on a bewildered people. I know the excuse will be made of the EU quotas and all other restrictions on our exports but that does not justify the poor financial state that we now find ourselves in. We have sold off almost all of the country’s assets, assets that I among other Bajans have worked our knuckles off in nation building only to see them sold to the highest bidder by so called governments who claim to care. I am not an economist but will continue to say that our governments have killed the entrepreneural spirit of Bajans. Give Bajans a tax break and as history has shown, they will rebuild their country bigger and better. Socialists and Marxists idealism do not have a place in this society. Put that in crappo pipe and smoke it, as de ole people use to say.

    • And the race continues between wages and inflation in a weak economy.

      Haynes gives take on cost of living and possible pay hike in public sector Gov’s caution on prices

      BARBADIANS MAY NOT get the cost of living ease they are craving this year and public sector workers may also have to do without a “substantial” pay increase.
      That is the assessment of Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes.
      With the prices compact and Government’s reduced value added tax on electricity bills scheduled to end next Tuesday, the day he demits office, Haynes said whether or not prices reduce over the next 12 months was a “tricky question”.
      This, he explained, would depend on how quickly international inflation continued to decline.
      But the economist cautioned that this might be insufficient to quickly reduce the cost of living in Barbados if another prices compact, or other types of relief offered by Government and the private sector, were not introduced.
      Reviewing the economy’s 2022 performance during a press conference at the Courtney Blackman Grande Salle yesterday, Haynes also warned that “the combined effect of higher primary surpluses,
      increased capital spending, and ongoing recapitalisation of the [National Insurance Scheme] would limit the scope for substantial salary increases over the short term”.
      Fuel import bill
      He was also concerned that Barbados’ fuel import bill reaching $1.1 billion last year, represented “a significant drain on our foreign exchange”.
      Haynes said in the economic review that the impact of the Russia-Ukraine conflict on food prices, higher international energy prices and ongoing supply chain disruptions raised domestic inflation as rising import prices filtered into the economy.
      “Foreign inflationary pressures eased in the second half of the year and with Government’s policy intervention on energy prices and its compact with the private sector on mark-ups on basic food items, the pace of price increases slowed,” he reported.
      “At November, prices were reported to be 8.5 per cent higher than for the corresponding period 12 months earlier.”
      The Governor explained that Barbadians benefiting from reduced prices was a tricky question “because we don’t know fully what is going to happen in terms of the pressures from abroad”.
      “We have to recognise that inflation in Barbados is impacted by several things, the primary one being the prices that we buy our goods from abroad. That impacts not only goods, but it also impacts services that we utilise,” he said.
      “So to the extent that the international prices are able to stabilise,…that will have a favourable impact on domestic prices. But that is a situation over which we have no guarantee, we are really living in what I would say is a very uncertain global economic environment.”
      Haynes said there is “a limit to what I think can be done domestically in order to be able to cushion the impact of those higher import prices”.
      He noted that high prices meant that Government’s revenues also increased and that if these elevated costs persisted this year then there would be some scope for a continuation of the relief the authorities offered in 2022 – including capping VAT on fuel prices and freight costs.
      However, Haynes said that if external inflationary pressures eased, but the prices compact or a similar arrangement was not re-introduced “it
      means you would not necessarily see the immediate benefits of the ease” in international prices.
      “So it’s a careful road that has to be navigated. And I believe that with the best will that we will be able to achieve that going forward,” he said.
      He also stressed the need to reduce the fuel import bill, not just for the financial and environmental benefits, but so that Barbados can enhance its overall competitiveness. (SC)

      Source: Nation

    • We spent 1.1 billion in oil imports the Governor reminds us – this continues to soak up borrowed foreign exchange – yet we see the sale of gas/diesel powered trucks for leisure continuing at pace. What can be more dichotomous? Bush Tea will say a people get what they deserve.

    • Bush Tea will say that Brass Bowls tend to attract shaving cream if not properly kept.
      In this regard, we have one big toilet!!

      One has to wonder about the so-called ‘university’ where the leaders bout here were ‘trained’.
      How the Hell can we have ‘built our foreign reserves over the past 6 years’? … by borrowing money that our grandchildren will smell HELL to repay?

      “Whom the gods would destroy they first make mad”

  7. Disregarding the rich bastards who are selfish by nature
    Third World Countries like Barbados will fail in the Capitalist system
    and should plan to live a good life without money

    If they want to blame socialism for their failure
    They should exercise daily like Indians and Chinese before Christ
    with various modalities such as pranayama yoga qigong tai chi
    to stay health and live without healthcare

  8. From Blues to Hip Hop
    Black people with no money make music
    youths reinvent their persona
    and become ghetto superstars

    • Doesn’t matter. The entire entity, save a few roles could be deleted, and nobody would notice.

    • Just heard heard an extract from today’s newscast of Dr. Yearwood giving the government a failing grade 1. Questioning the delay in projects being started and the economy growing at 1 plus % during BLP’s tenure. Are these projects private sector driven and is he reasonable to expect project startups during covid? As far as the Blogmaster is aware during the boom years Barbados grew at about 3%.

  9. You will get there. Still got those to the mean time…am off to bed. Those things take hours to get right.

  10. “Just heard heard an extract from today’s newscast of Dr. Yearwood giving the government a failing grade”

    Does Doctor Who read BU?

    “Thoughts reflect and affect our mood, our attitude and our general tenor.
    Thoughts are silent sounds. And sounds are electromagnetic vibrations.
    The more refined our thoughts, the more elevated our vibration; the more elevated our vibration, the closer we get to the highest vibration of all–our own divine nature. The entire universe was built on sound (WORD), which is nothing but vibration. By vibrating a certain combination of sounds, we are able to tune in to various levels of intelligence, or consciousness. Thus, chanting mantras is a conscious method of controlling our moods, and in turn, our frequency and resultant all-around radiance.”

  11. Any truth to the rumour that the new Central Bank Governor will come from Africa?

    Guess if we can’t get the economy to run we will need to bring in expertise from over and away.

    What would such a move presage?

  12. I smile when I hear people talking about business people needing to do more and stop asking for handouts. So let’s see how the drive for photovoltaic entrepreneurs has panned out.

    In the beginning came the tax incentives for persons to invest in these systems. Then came the caps on the size of the systems people could install. The message here being ” wunna can go for alternative energy just don’t go too far and rock the boat.” Then came the next nail in the coffin for the private producers, when just so the FTC reduced the rate the producer was getting paid by Emera.

    So that now has meant the main move to photovoltaic will be made by Emera. After going all round the bush we back to making sure the monopoly makes the money.

    So much for the state ” providing an enviroment for persons to invest in alternative energy.” LOL

  13. “Any truth to the rumour that the new Central Bank Governor will come from Africa?”

    That’s the talk about the place. For those who want to remain trapped, just stay in the shitstem, you are sure to go nowhere for another 3-400 years, just as you want it, but of course……there is more.

  14. The Integrity in Public Life Bill goes before parliament in the coming days. Attorney General Dale Marshall made the disclosure this morning during a post-cabinet press conference.

    It’s the second time Government is attempting to have the bill passed.

  15. @Hants,
    I remember hearing “St Lucy is behind God’s back”.
    But it looks as if the distinction between St Lucy and the rest of the island is no longer that great. It is painful to see St Lucy grabbing these negative headlines.

    • BCCI: More reforms needed for growth
      The Barbados Chamber of Commerce & Industry says the economy’s ten per cent last year is “great news”, but it believes more growth will come if needed reforms are implemented.
      Among its recommendations were continued fiscal consolidation including the privatisation of some state-owned enterprises (SOEs), an increase in lending to the business community, more skilled construction workers, and an effort to earn more foreign exchange rather than living on borrowed reserves.
      In a statement issued in response to the Central Bank’s 2022 economic review, the Chamber’s economic advisory committee, chaired by Christopher Sambrano, also wanted some attention given to long term objectives, including a continued focus on trade and economic diversification, and a major improvement in Government’s service delivery and business facilitation.
      The business sector association called Wednesday’s economic update from Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes “good news in the context of where we have been during the last couple years”.
      “There has been a strong rate of economic growth (ten per cent), this suggests that consumer spending and economic activity is returning after the effects of the COVID19 pandemic,” the Sambrano-led committee said.
      “Given the strong arrival numbers, despite the global uncertainty, this means that growth and business activity should also be strong in the first quarter of 2023. While this is not surprising based on where we are coming from, it is none-the-less great news.”
      It observed that the growth statistics were also “being borne out by its impact on unemployment (7.1 per cent), which is relatively low”.
      Steps to streamline
      However, the organisation said that it was important “that steps are taken to streamline the labour market participants into areas most in demand by employers. Given the expected increase in construction, skilled construction workers will be a key priority over the next four to five years”.
      The Chamber found it positive that the public debt to GDP ratio ended the year below the rate reported for the previous year, but believed it was “important to note that this statistic is still above pre-COVID rates”.
      It said this meant that “the public sector will still need to continue its fiscal consolidation programme and continue to focus on the reform of state-owned enterprises. Efforts to privatise some of these state-owned enterprises should be considered”.
      The Chamber also acknowledged that the international reserves were still at historical highs but pointed out that “the gross international reserves cover weeks fell from 40 weeks at the end of 2021 to 29 weeks at the end of 2022”.
      Further, it flagged the concern that “given the level of borrowing that has occurred over the last few years, this means that the island is still not earning enough foreign exchange to cover its import needs. It is living on borrowed reserves”.
      While private sector credit grew for the first time in three years, the Chamber also noted that the ratio of private sector credit to GDP fell relative to last year.
      This, it said, suggested that “credit for business activity and long-term household projects is still slow [and] when this ratio picks up, we will see even greater growth in economic activity”.
      The Chamber said that ultimately Barbados needed to focus on a number of long term objectives, starting with a continued focus on trade and economic diversification.
      “There has to be a strong collaboration between the private and public sectors. The private sector needs to focus its efforts on deploying its capital and resources into foreign exchange-earning activities, for example, life sciences, alternative energy,” it stated.
      “However, the state has to provide an enabling environment to unlock that capital. That environment needs enablers that foster ease of doing business, private equity funding, and access to foreign exchange in order to unlock capital for investment, not just investment into local ventures, but also investment into overseas/ regionally based ventures that are locally owned. This will facilitate long-term foreign exchange earning capacity and scale for our local businesses.”
      The Chamber also sees the long term need to reform and consolidate state-owned corporations inclusive of privatisation “to reduce transfers and improve efficiency, transparency and accountability [and] fundamentally simplify, modernise and improve the quality and delivery of services to citizens, and in so doing, improve the ease of doing business, efficiency and value for money of services”. ( SC)

      Source: Nation

    • @TLSN

      A good discussion. Have seen extracts from John Barnes interviews about his book. The impact of colonialism as the undergird to the reparations call is relevant one would have to say.

  16. David bu this guy Dr Ronnie Yearwood is a political joker in my viee.He is totally out of his depth and will sufger the same fate as the previous nightwatchman Ms Depeiza.This joker seems to forget we like the rest pf the world suffered through covid and the resultant fall out.We are now catching back ourselves.How the hell he expects that all these projects cpuld have started during a pandemic?He needs to tell us what the dems plan on doing going forward or would have done differently now.I heard him with Mr Wickham dodging and ducking questions last tuesday wbere i would give him zero out of 10.He needs to think before he speaks.I gone.

    • @Lorenzo

      Be careful!

      IDB caution as Central Bank reports hike to $14.1 billion
      By Shawn Cumberbatch
      The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) is urging Barbados and other countries in the region to prioritise reducing their debt to prudent levels so they can boost economic growth, attract productive investment and reduce the risk of a debt crisis.
      This advice comes as the Central Bank reports that Barbados’ debt increased to $14.1 billion at the end of December, $300 million more than it was at the end of September.
      However, the debt to GDP (gross domestic product)
      ratio fell to 123.8 per cent of GDP by the end of last year as the economy grew by ten per cent, Central Bank Governor Cleviston Haynes said in the bank’s 2022 economic review last Wednesday.
      Under the successor Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation and International Monetary Fund (IMF) programmes, Government is targeting reducing the debt to GDP ratio to 60 per cent by the 2035/2036 financial year, he reminded.
      “At the end of the year, the debt stock was approximately $14.1 billion or 123.8 per cent of GDP, compared to $13.4 billion or 137.9 per cent of GDP at end-2021,” Haynes said.
      “The lower ratio stemmed from the recovery in economic activity, but the decline was partially stymied because of the identification of historic
      domestic arrears that are being addressed as part of Government’s debt management programme to bring the debt to GDP ratio to 60 per cent by financial year 2035/36.
      “Reducing the debt ratio is consistent with efforts to enhance the credit rating, and the recent decision by Fitch Ratings to pitch Barbados’ rating one notch above its other ratings is an important step in this direction,” he added.
      The Governor reported that Government had a stronger fiscal performance, with a primary surplus of $434.3 million, which “led to a reduced borrowing requirement for the first nine months of the fiscal year”.
      “This enabled less reliance on new external funding, but there was increased domestic financing as Government continued to test the appetite of domestic investors for public sector debt. The domestic portion of the debt-for-nature swap was fully subscribed but demand by the private sector remained slow for other new bonds,” he explained.
      Haynes also said that policybased loans of $84 million were received from the IMF via the Extended Fund Facility, of which $38 million “represented the first disbursement received in the last quarter of the year under the second programme”.
      Additionally, project fund inflows for capital works totalled $93 million, about 65 per cent of which “is targeted towards the road infrastructure programme”.
      “Debt service payments, inclusive of the early retirement of a fraction of Series E bonds under the debt-for-nature swap, reached $862 million compared to $549 million during the corresponding period one year earlier. The higher payments also partly reflected the increase in interest expenditure and the commencement of the repayment of rescheduled domestic bonds,” he reported.
      The IDB, which recently approved another $200 million loan for Barbados, has just released the study, Dealing With Debt: Less Risk For More Growth In Latin America And The Caribbean, in which it revealed that the region’s total debt has surged from under $6 trillion in 2008 to the current $11.6 trillion (117 per cent of GDP).
      The bank noted that public debt in the region grew
      from 58 per cent in 2019 to 72 per cent in 2020 due to COVID-19-related fiscal packages, lower revenues and a recession. It warned that the pandemic, the war in Ukraine, high inflation, rising interest rates and low world growth, when combined with high debt, increased the region’s vulnerability.
      As a result, the IDB said governments should respond to the worsening debt challenge by reducing public debt ratios from an average of 70 per cent to a range of 46 to 55 per cent of GDP.
      It advised policymakers to improve fiscal institutions, promote fiscal consolidation beyond current plans, focus again on improving debt management, consider carefully how best to assist private firms, and create a regional forum to discuss issues related to debt and debt restructuring.

      Source: Nation

    • Atherley: Country owed answers on governor’s exit
      The departure of the Governor of the Central Bank should be a source of concern for Barbadians, says former Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley.
      In fact, he is of the view that the Mia Amor Mottley administration owes the country answers on why the contract of Governor Cleviston Haynes is not being renewed.
      “I have my concerns that we are not renewing the contract of the Central Bank Governor. The economy is on the rebound, we have been stabilising ourselves and doing the right things for the last few years, so why is his contract not being renewed? We need several questions answered pertaining to this. Did he not want his contract renewed, or was it a decision by Government to end it? We need to be told why,” Atherley said.
      Last week Haynes announced his departure from the institution he joined as an economist more than 42 years ago. His successor is yet to be announced, but he told journalists attending his final press conference last Wednesday: “I have come to the end of my contract, and I will demit office on January 31, 2023.”
      He was appointed to the post on January 1, 2018, having acted from February
      2017 after the dismissal of Dr DeLisle Worrell.
      “My term as governor has been challenging, as we navigated economic reforms, debt restructuring and COVID-19. Working with all stakeholders, the country has made the progress I cited earlier and we can all be proud of our achievements thus far,” he told an audience of media, Central Bank staff and members of the public following online.
      Atherley told the Sunday Sun the post was one of critical importance to the country and therefore its independence must be maintained at all costs.
      ‘Servant of the people’
      “The truth of the matter is that the governor is paid by the purse of the taxpayers and therefore he is a servant of the people. He is not a tool of Government and as such we do not want the position subject to interference by the political process. We also do not want a situation where the Government comes at its whims and fancies and changes the position. If the person is not performing or it is a question of ethics, then fine. However, if the economy is performing, things are looking up and yet the person has to be removed, then the people have a right to know why,” he said.
      “I believe strongly that we have to improve our governance structures. I said it repeatedly when I was in the Barbados Labour Party as well as when I crossed the floor and became Opposition Leader. We need to ensure that we do not have a system in operation that the structures of governance and administration in places like the Central Bank and the National Insurance Scheme fall subject to political interference, influence and victimisation.”

      Source: Nation

  17. So is it true, or just rumor, yall got a Nigerian billionaire for a central bank guvner. That one has been making the rounds fuh days..

    People are already protesting….as expected..

    So did the german/swiss or whatever he is do anything useful or progressive with the one horse tourism for that 1/4 million annual salary with perks..other than talk shite and tell us what we already know…i take it that’s a bigly no, the island is still going nowhere and i noticed IDB is already giving warnings in that regard for 2023 and going forward.

    What a mess…and the pretenders doan know wuh to do.

  18. “So is it true, or just rumor, yall got a Nigerian billionaire for a central bank guvner. That one has been making the rounds fuh days..”

    Nigeria has a very large number of fabulously wealthy individuals comparable with Russian oligarchs. The government of Barbados has probably concluded that it would make economic sense to graft onto its financial arm an entity that would have the capacity to lure billions of monies into Barbados.

    Barbados is looking to link up with with the continent of Africa. Factor in the desire for Nigerians to obtain alternative citizenships which would benefit them in their desire to travel the world, relatively, unhindered. Then this decision to employ a Nigerian, if you are correct, makes perfect sense.

    London for the last 20 – 25 years has become an enclave for Russian oligarchs. Perhaps, Bridegetown could become an enclave for Nigerian oligarchs?

  19. “The government of Barbados has probably concluded that it would make economic sense to graft onto its financial arm an entity that would have the capacity to lure billions of monies into Barbados.”

    Or…since he is a billionaire and Barbados CANNOT pay him…that we know….but someone else can.

    TLSN…dont let these fool you, not only are they running on empty…but they have absolutely no fiscal control and others are now deciding their immediate future and long term destiny. They cannot airbrush away that reality and replace it with their shite fairytales and fantasies. ..and fraud and false pride and disgusting lies.

  20. Wuh i glad enuff i dont know nuhbody name Julia Clarice Browne…glad she int family to me. Her family must be so ashamed of this mischiefing making lying traitor from the 60s and 70s, this emptyheaded Slave….to watch how people are making videos about this fool and posting them everywhere..what a disgrace. Dah iz wuh happen when you allow your ignorance and idiocy to drive you to the wrong side of history where ya get

  21. TLSN…..hope you understand it now…wuh if i had interests in any island via billion dollar loans..because ya corrupt and tief the people’s billions over the last 100 ya broke the island and can never ever be trusted again…wuh i would plant sumbody i could trust to make sure ya int tief none of my interests too..wuh i int no idiot.

    • @TLSN

      It is normal for the haves to defend their positions I.e. money, power from the have nots even if crumbs fall from the table from time to time.

  22. “Fred Corbin’s revelation about an African Governor smoked.”

    @ David

    That guy has been making unsubstantiated claims on social media.

    • @Artax

      Yes. Another one some ram with was that that government agents were trying to hack his computer. However, the ‘evidence’ he posted showed the attacking’ IP was family to his IP.

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