The Adrian Loveridge Column – Creating Opportunity in Real Estate

While watching an episode of Caribbean Life on HGTV (Home and Garden Television) hosted by our very own Cherita O’Dell recently, highlighting available property opportunities on Barbados, it struck me as one of the areas that really needs much greater attention to attract increased foreign exchange.

According to available data, over 96 million households in the USA have access to HGTV and in 2016 the network overtook CNN to become the third most-watched cable channel in the United States.

While our larger real estate agents appear to have found their place in the marketplace, both locally and internationally, there are dozens if not scores of smaller agencies, that appear to operate in isolation and seeming lack of collective direction.

Whether this is down to individual egos or the sheer inability or fear of working co-operatively as a group to maximize reach, awareness and share costs?

Recalling the very many promotional trips I personally took overseas, the primary concentration was never about our small hotel, but showcasing the destination. At the end of the day, it is the customer who makes the informed decision, based on preferred likes and budget.

What is to stop around ten of the more creative smaller real estate agents producing a weekly video, showcasing our vast range of possible second or retirement homes?

This could be aired via YouTube and any number of social media channels.

Of course the same video could display all the contact details of each partner agent, with websites to secure more information.

Despite current foreign exchange rates in some key markets, there still are comparative ‘bargains’ when you take into account certain locations within the United Kingdom and the added warm weather benefits that a tropical location could help to reduce a long British winter.

Add the possibility of reducing investment costs by offering home rental letting and it’s already beginning to make justifiable economic sense.

The British equivalent to HGTV in the United Kingdom could well be the very popular series produced by Channel 4 TV, A place in the Sun.

They go that extra mile by including a simple click on link to available properties for sale on Barbados and at last website viewing, listed over 800 possibilities.

Is there a way that our national marketing agency could build on these linkages?

Naturally every second home owner becomes a potential long stay visitor and almost certainly introduces family members who could conceivably return, year after year.

Not for a second, am I ignoring the vast choice of online real estate find portals like RightMove, On the Market, Prime Location and Zoopla, but if there is another dimension, could we be missing out on a lost opportunity?

Surely we have a duty to explore?

Also, is there any way our local banks can become more proactive in offering overseas clients, mortgage facilities? After all, surely any perceived risk by the lender is based on the value of the property and the ability to service debt payments?

The Violet Beckles Affair, Separating Fact From Fiction Part III

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In the news recently Barbadians learned about a Court battle over the sale of The Farm Plantation. In 2005 a Court approved the sale of the plantation to Timothy Walsh of Nature’s Produce for $1.5 million. And in a recent court order the 135 acre property was approved to be sold to building magnate Bjorn Bjerkhamn for $1.35 million.

The treasure which has caused wars to be fought continues. On BU “Plantation Deeds” continues his online war to expose a matter which he believes is not being given enough airplay by the establishment. Here are some more documents which includes The Farm plantation and the Urban Development Commission (UDC).

Yes we know, BU is not a court of law BUT an online medium which allows the ordinary to give vent to concerns.

Related Links:

Here are the links to the images in the Slide Show: Continue reading

Notes From a Native Son – Are We Facing the Point of No-Return?

Hal Austin

Two recent events should have shaken Barbadian society to the root. The first was the plea by former prime minister Owen Arthur for a truce on the dangerous standoff between the two dominant political parties on what to do about our badly managed economy, and for a cross-party National Commission on the Economic Development of Barbados. He did not put it in such words, but the sentiment is the same: if this generation of political leaders is going to pass on a sustainable economy and tolerant and stable society to future generations we have to call a halt on the political tribalism led by this terrible Ineptocracy (I love the word) and put our heads together in the interest of future generations.

The development, closely linked to the first, came out of the confusing and misleading hysteria about the future of Almond Resorts, was the call by Bjorn Bjerkhamn, the wealthy Norwegian, who now brands himself a ‘Barbadian’ on the basis of over 50 years of residence and, no doubt, a local passport. Mr Bjerkhamn is one of the wealthiest of the so-called New Barbadians, people who have moved from the four corners of the world and have sought to appropriate our lovely island and call it home. Some of them have nothing but contempt for local people, although this may not apply to Mr Bjerkhamn. I think I have some form on this: I have lived in Britain for over twice as long as I have lived in Barbados. Armed with my British passport, I am still reminded almost every day that I am an immigrant and any children or grandchildren those of us who have lived in Britain since the 1960s have, are called second-generation, or third-generation immigrants. It is a burden I am prepared to carry on my shoulders, since I challenge any man or woman to be more Barbadian than I.

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Adrian Loveridge

Submitted by Adrian Loveridge

What are the functions and objectives of an independent Senator?

During the time the late Sir John Stanley Goddard sat in the Senate he repeatedly called for up-to-date financial statements for Hotels and Resorts Limited to be made available. After all, it’s a majority Government owned company funded by the taxpayer and surely we have a right to know their current fiscal position?

I understand that HRL’s accounts have now been laid in Parliament for the subsequent years since 2001, yet why has there seemingly been no Senate debate, discussion or public comment?

Losses for the GEMS project have been quoted at anything from $200 to $400 million, and as yet, no analysis has been in what part in the closure of over 30 private sector hotels over the last fifteen years they have played.

Marching To The Beat Of The Drum

Prime Minister David Thompson

Prime Minister David Thompson

A comment by an anonymous commenter to BU yesterday resonated for most of the day. The relevant excerpt: to date the land use policies of the Thompson administration and the Arthur administration are indistinguishable. I would dare say the immigration policies are also similar but for the amnesty period now in place. The feeble implementation of a physical development plan by the authorities in the last twenty years has seen a haphazard approach to land development in Barbados and sad to say remains a concern two years into the Thompson government. The fact of the matter is there is truth to the comment if interpreted in a dispassionate way.

The land policy of the former administration which has seen the West Coast of Barbados assaulted with all but a few windows to the sea remaining is well documented. The current government during the last election campaign made some noises about adopting a different approach to land development but so far can anyone say there has been a shift?

On the weekend at the official opening of the Sugar Cane Club Minister Richard Sealy was quoted in the nation newspaper as follows, Government has identified the north-west corridor of the island, as an area for greater tourism development. Sealy is confident tourism projects planned for the island’s north coast will increase the economic and tourism activity in that “northern corridor.” Emphasis on the North West corridor is instructive for two reasons 1) the South and West Coast corridors have already been bulldozed in the name of economic development by former governments and 2) Prime Minister David Thompson is on record that the Eastern Seaboard of Barbados is off-limits.

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Barbados We Love You, But For How Long?

Grenada Sunset

It continues to amaze the BU household why politicians feel that they can ignore the PEOPLE and get away with it. But we know the answer, don’t we? Barbadians have long ago repatriated their dreams and aspirations to the politician. In the past this passive approach by Barbadians was regarded as a characteristic to be admired, but that was in the day when we had grassroots politicians in abundance who could be entrusted with the PEOPLE’s business.

It is interesting to read about the latest controversy in Caribbean government. In summary, it has been reported that on July 07, 2008, one day before general elections were held, the former Grenada government signed a deal worth 35 million dollars with Formula 1 racing driver Lewis Hamilton.  Of course Hamilton is the much heralded Black Formula 1 driver whose grandfather is Grenadian.  The Grenada Grand Beach Resort is located on this prime beachfront property in question. “The deal is controversial in part because Grenada’s government owns nearly all beachfront land and leases it to developers for an annual fee. Some local journalists complained that taxpayers received no payment for transfer of the land.”(excerpt from the Canadian report)

Grenada seems to have gotten its coastal land use policy right!

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Quotable Quotes By Key Actors On Barbados West Coast Development

west coast condos

West Coast Condo Development

The Financial Times (FT) published an interesting article yesterday (20 September 2008) about the development of our West Coast. The BU family has been a great advocate of questioning the high-octane development occurring on the West Coast of Barbados. Of concern to many is the fact that despite a change in government our coastal development policy appears to be unchanged. While we understand the importance of tourism and an investor friendly environment, the roller-coaster abandon with which coastal development is being undertaken even under the new government continues to be of concerned.

We had hoped that the Physical Development Plan for Barbados would have taken top priority before firm commitment was given to several projects to disrupt our coastline by the Thompson government. The fickle nature of tourism, more so in the current global economic environment makes decisions to develop our precious coastline a serious business. We have listed six quotes from the article which caught our interest from the FT article: What do you think?

BU wishes to thank a family member for the FT article.

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West Coast Developers Wanted




Barbadians have had to suffer in pain as we have had to make the trek along the West Coast of Barbados in recent years. Many of the windows to the sea have now been obliterated and most of the pedestrian trails to beaches on the West Coast have seen barriers erected as the rich and famous preserve their plots. How prophetic the words of the Mighty Gabby’s popular calypso Jack has turned out to be.

The BU household is not stupid. We understand the need for Barbados to attract foreign investment. We understand the need to build modern infrastructure to ensure that Barbados is positioned in the global economy to access opportunities to feed its people. What we don’t understand is the unplanned approach to the physical development of Barbados, in particular when directed at our precious coastline.

In light of the above the BU household and co-plaintiff (BU family member X) intends to launch a lawsuit in the Court of Public Opinion against those developers who have been at the forefront of the West Coast development in Barbados. A furious search is therefore on the way to find certain parties who have been hopping from private planes, boats and villas to avoid appearance in the Court of Public Opinion.

All help from the Bajan Blogosphere in locating parties named is appreciated.

Barbadians Continue To Voice Disgust At The Carnage Taking Place On The West Coast Of Barbados

Submitted by Sundowner

The Sands - Barbados West Coast Hotel

The Sands Hotel - Barbados West Coast

The Sands Hotel – described by BU commenter as a monstrosity!

I’m constantly hearing comments from tourists and residents alike regarding the construction on the Island, especially The Sands (see pics above), its too large for its spot and overwhelming from both the road and the beach, I’ve heard it described as a monstrosity/ugly/hideous…….not what the developers had in mind I would think!! One family said they wouldn’t stay on the West Coast again as it was difficult to get to a beach without transport, between The Sands and The regent there is no access to the beach.

Not all tourists are so well off they can hire cars, some have struggled for their ‘holiday of a lifetime’.

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High Octane West Coast Development May Sabotage Barbados Economy

west coast condosThe BU household will hold former Prime Minister Owen Arthur and Minister of Tourism Noel ‘Barney’ Lynch guilty of permanently disfiguring the West Coast of Barbados. We will stretch it further and state that it will be the legacy of the former Barbados Labour Party government. It has become an every day occurrence to hear Barbadians and visitors alike refer with disgust to our concrete West Coast. It is a pity Barbadians sat very quietly while our beautiful West Coast was raped of its intoxicating beauty.

We accept the point that Barbados has to improve the tourism infrastructure to polish our tourism product. What we have seen on the West Coast clearly demonstrates a lack of planning. It is amazing that during the BLP/Barney Lynch tenure hotel room stock in Barbados stagnated. After fourteen years there is no Master Plan for tourism. After fourteen long years there is tourism strategy which Barbadians can ‘touch and feel’. When one considers that tourism is the engine that drives our economy, it becomes and unpardonable sin which has been visited upon the people of Barbados by the previous administration.

It is always instructive to listen to people from outside Barbados to get their perspective. Thanks to a BU family member who sent the following news item which appeared in an online newspaper out of Mauritius.

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Sir Charles and Brother Bizzy Williams Launch Take Over Bid For 4000 Acre (6.2 Square Miles) Barbados Farms Limited

Date August 04, 2007
Barbados Farms In Spotlight
by Carmel Haynes
THE WILLIAMS BROTHERS, Sir Charles and Ralph “Bizzy”, are leading a takeover bid for Barbados’ single largest agricultural land-owning entity. They revealed yesterday at a Press conference at Hilton Barbados that they were seeking to transform the “rotting plum” that was Barbados Farms Ltd. into a profitable entity. Pointing out that the publicly owned agricultural body lost $873 824 last year, the Williamses promised to bring their experience to bear on transforming Barbados Farms in the same way they had improved the agricultural efficiency of Foursquare Estates Ltd. by 84 per cent since taking that entity over in 1997/1998.
Source: Nation

It seems to BU that as General Elections draw closer, issues are being raised which appear to be consuming national interest. Whether it is the BS&T merger, the 50 Chinese who were found to be working illegally but given retroactive permission to remain in Barbados, or the latest issue of the Williams brothers Bizzy and Sir Charles’ attempt to take over Barbados Farms Ltd. The enormity of the transaction can be gauged after the realization that the total land area controlled by Barbados Farms is 4000 acres; in the context of Barbados we are talking 6.25 square miles. To assess the implication for Barbados of this transaction, we have to factor the lands already owned by Sir Cow which is estimated to be the equivalent to St. Philip and St. John combined.

We need to argue this latest issue in a dispassionate manner as the situation allows.

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Prime Minister Arthur Prefers A Neal And Massy Deal~Barbados Underground Say So

Barbados Shipping And Trading, Going, Going, Soon To Be Gone~The Advocate Newspaper Should Go Too

May 17th, 2007 · 5 Comments

Did I read the Advocate editorial of May 17, 2007 correctly. Just one day after bashing the Advocate newspaper, unapologetically so, we fan the pages this morning only to be confronted by an editorial laced with simplistic analysis. At BU we regard the fact that Barbados’s only conglomerate being gobbled-up by the more cash rich Trinidadian conglomerate, Neal & Massy as deserving of studious analysis. The Advocate editorial makes the obvious argument that market forces in any capitalist market will make decisions with the objective of creating shareholder value. At BU we say brilliant and profound!

Full BU Article

A meeting called by the Board of Directors of BS&T for shareholders to seal the deal with Neal & Massy this evening was canceled because an injunction filed by Jeffery Kinch, a BS&T shareholder was upheld. Mr.Kinch filed on the grounds that BS&T had not provided enough information to BS&T shareholders to make informed decisions. To BU the action seemed redundant because BS&T through its mouthpiece, Sir Allan had indicated it would offer an adjournment because of the recent developments, a counter bid by Ansa Mcal, another T&T conglomerate and a local interest have declared their interest in making offers.

The action by Kinch who obviously acted on behalf of others clearly demonstrate that there have acted out of caution in the event BS&T and Neal & Massy tried any devious move!

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What Is The Role Of The Director Of Public Prosecutions In Barbados And Is He Doing His Job?

BU admit that while investigating our yesterday’s story it has been an eye opener. Often when we think of our system of justice we think of Law Courts and the police. The truth is there are many other groups that play a significant role to ensure that justice is delivered. Over past weeks BU have joined with Barbados Free Press in being heavily critical of the Commissioner of Police given the escalating crime and obvious corruption which has emerged across our society.

After presenting our discussion point yesterday BU think that other players in the legal system need to be brought into the firing line, namely the lawyers and the real estate agents!

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VECO And The Barbados Connection Uncovered~Barbados Free Press Is On Your Scent!

Thursday, December 14th, 2006…12:29 pm

Piggy Reference In Post Strikes A Nerve: Pierhead Project Investors Inc.

All we asked was “Who Has Shares In Barbados ‘Pierhead Project Investors Inc.’ ?” and the hits went wild. Out of the millions of posts and comments written yesterday on over half a million blogs – our post “Who Has Shares In Barbados ‘Pierhead Project Investors Inc.’ ?” stands at the #66th most viewed post! ( Top Posts stats here)

And we can see where those hits are coming from. Somebody out there a little worried? Did a few people in government jobs develop a little bit of perspiration on that upper lip as they read the post? Why should such a nothing little post cause sooooooo much excitement in Bridgetown? Don’t worry folks – everything gonna be just fine! Isn’t that the way things have always been on this island?

Oink Oink!

Related Story

Whew! Over here at BU we cannot but admire the tenacity which Barbados Free Press continues to demonstrate on this VECO story. There is an old saying that where there is smoke some fire must be close. Keep going BFP we can smell something real stink!

BU as usual want to add its two pence by commenting on the Pier Head project. We hope that BFP with its army of sources can polish-up this story for us. A major part of the Bridgetown Redevelopment Plan is the development of the Pier Head, which is majority if not wholly owned by Barbados Shipping & Trading, soon to be Neal & Massy Barbados Shipping & Trading. A Google has tossed up that CB Richard Ellis Hotels Limited has signed an agreement with Pier Head Investment Inc to operate a 5 Star 200 room hotel on the Pier Head to be completed by 2010. The development will also include apartments, marina, maritime museum, duty free shops and much more.

Our source who is well positioned and we know to be very reliable has told us is that there was a bid process held recently to determine the company to do the redevelopment work on the Pier Head. The process had to be scrapped when the VECO news broke recently about high ranking officials who were indicted in Alaska. VECO was one of the bidders!

The big question is why no similar sanction on the New Prison project Mr. Dale Marshall? After all you have given VECO and their involvement on the building of the prison a clean bill of health. Again BU ask why the double standards on this one Mr. Attorney General?

BU's Top Post For May 2007


“BU at the right time will name those Ministers in government who received lots in the Bakers Wood Development in St. Peter. Then there is Apple Grove Plantation which was sub-divided and sold to top Ministers at “rab land” price as well, located above Mount Stinkeroo with a panoramic view of the West Coast and the Sandy Lane Estate. BU is willing to bet that the Ministers know something that John Public does not. It is interesting to note that Apple Grove was sold by Bruce Bayley who is a Director in CGI along with David Shorey and Peter Harris”

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The quote was taken from what is BU’s top post for May 2007. It seems that the issue of the large scale disposal of land to foreigners, along with the ease with which prominent persons including politicians are carving up the rock, continues to strike an emotional chord with Barbadians. BU takes the opportunity to ask readers to recall the transaction which took place with the sale of Bennets Plantation. BFP reported in great detail on the transaction which we all agree although not illegal can be viewed as unethical. The lack of a land use policy if the Barbadian electorate is lucky, could just raise its head as a national issue in the soon to be announced General Election.

The former Christie government made a similar mistake in the Bahamas recently and it now occupies the opposition bench. If Prime Minister Owen Arthur is as savvy as we know him to be, he would have taken careful note.


Barbados Shipping And Trading, Going, Going, Soon To Be Gone~The Advocate Newspaper Should Go Too

Did I read the Advocate editorial of May 17, 2007 correctly. Just one day after bashing the Advocate newspaper, unapologetically so, we fan the pages this morning only to be confronted by an editorial laced with simplistic analysis. At BU we regard the fact that Barbados’s only conglomerate being gobbled-up by the more cash rich Trinidadian conglomerate, Neal & Massy as deserving of studious analysis. The Advocate editorial makes the obvious argument that market forces in any capitalist market will make decisions with the objective of creating shareholder value. At BU we say brilliant and profound!

To hear the level of virtual panic in utterances from some people on the BS&T/Neal & Massy merger, one might imagine the Barbados partner was being swallowed up against its will. For all we know, the reported disproportionate shareholding may well justify the term take-over, despite assurance from BS&T’s chairman that the transaction, yet to be approved by securities agencies in Barbados and T&T, is a friendly merger of unequals; and that BS&T was not for sale.

Source: Advocate

BU would have anticipated that a more quality piece of journalism would have analyze and sought to project the fall-out from such a merger given the Goliath status of BS&T; after all its operations is weaved into the Barbados economy in almost all the sectors. Despite our boast of 90+ literacy Barbadians are not financial and investment savvy, this ignorance is exposed when matched against the Trinidad businessmen whose business acumen has been honed from years of functioning in an economy fashioned to serve the world.

Firstly Barbadians should accept that this transaction when approved by the shareholders and regulators must be viewed as a take over. BS&T is an ailing Group and has been for some time. Back in 2003 BS&T believe it or not owned 20% shares in Neal & Massy. However when it had to restructure the financially hemorrhaging motor division, it reduced this share holding to 9% to generate the required cash to offset the resulting write-offs.

Revenue and Net Profit of the BS&T Group improved over the previous year, with strong performances being experienced by United Insurance Company and Almond Resorts Inc. During the year the Group completed another phase of the restructuring of its automotive operations with the establishment of a new Company, Warren Motors Inc., in which it now holds 49%. Warren Motors will take over the operations formerly managed by BS&T Motors.Towards the end of the financial year BS&T reduced its shareholding in Neal & Massy Holdings from 20.1% to 9.2%. The capital gain achieved from this transaction was used partially to accommodate “write offs” incurred in the restructuring of the Motors division and other operations within the Group.Net Income attributable to Shareholders increased by 27%, while earnings per share showed a similar gain over the previous year.The sale of the Neal & Massy shares also had a positive Balance Sheet effect, as it allowed the Company to reduce its debt portfolio substantially.

Source: Neal & Massy

According to the most recent report BS&T shareholding has further dwindled to 3% while Neal & Massy’s stake in BS&T has risen to nearly 24%. Now does this smell like a merger? BS&T really has no choice but to go along with this transaction or face a hostile take over. A check of the Trinidad controlled Sagicor Insurance Company shows that it too has a significant holding in BS&T. It does not take rocket science to deduce that Neal & Massy has the means to support a hostile bid. BU does not intend to focus on the transaction of the take-over because market forces must be allowed to dictate whether the transaction will close or not. However the current public debate must be heard and place in proper perspective. The wholesale acquisition of choice Barbadian properties cannot continue unchecked or we risk being denationalized and “de-culturized”.

Our bashing of the Advocate must continue because the thrust of its editorial scoffed at the Barbadian public cry of concern at its lone conglomerate being snapped-up like a dog would a bone. The Advocate needs to appreciate that although Barbados cannot stop market forces directly; the one way “grabbing” of undervalued companies like BS&T must be of concern. The very high level of Trinidad investment in Barbados and the uncompetitive status of Barbadian companies clearly points to the fact that as a country we must seek to enable our business environment by implementing measures which would ensure that our leading companies are securely capitalized.

The obvious start is for the government to put incentives in place to promote private venture capital financing. So to the Advocate we urge you to call a meeting of your editorial staff immediately, the objective –to chart a new direction, and abort your current feeble attempt at journalism.

Barbadians Want An Equitable Land Policy

I agree with Sir Roy 100 per cent. Land would be a major factor,” he added.Lashley urged society not to forget the connection between land and identity. A sense of who you are is tied up in the ownership of land . . . . The majority who own land are not native Barbadians [who] are able to come [here] and enjoy prime real estate and the enormous benefits of society,” he stated. Lashley said many Barbadians were angry at tourists and foreigners who migrated here. And, he noted, Barbados was not taking this situation seriously.

Source: Nation

It seems that every where one turns in Barbados the issue of the high cost of living is a topic for conversation. BU is sympathetic but accept that this is a consequence of living in a country which has a per capita income of over US$7,000.00 and presently enjoy a lifestyle which any developed country can be proud. The Economists of course continue to battle with the concept of how to equitably distribute wealth in the country. BU must admit that under a BLP administration for the last 14 years the country has enjoyed a level of economic prosperity which is the envy of other countries blessed with more resources than posited with Barbados.


Against all that has been written BU is very concerned at an escalating trend in Barbados which has seen the price of real estate increasing at an alarming rate. It is no secret that the average Barbadian whether at home or abroad measures success by the ability to purchase real estate at the earliest opportunity in working life. The purchase by the Barbadian epitomizes the degree to which success has been achieved and allows the Barbadian property owner to enjoy a level of respect and acceptance among his or her country men. The prevailing conditions which now see land in St. Lucy and St. Philip, which historically was comparatively cheaper than in the other parishes, is now being sold from $15.00 to $20.00 per square foot for residential property. What this translates to is that many of our Barbadians first at the lower stratum cannot afford to buy property, and secondly our burgeoning middle-class with earning power in the top 20% is also struggling to buy property for legacy purposes. The acquisition of real estate is a strategy of wealth creation which the Indians and Caucasians have used over the years to good effect, but it appears blacks will be stymied to do the same. The question must be asked how a country which is governed by a black directorate would implement policies that would seek to emasculate the black Barbadian.


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