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Enclosing brackets when setting variables

Using parentheses you create an array:

$ a=(x:y:z v:w:x)
$ echo ${a[0]}
$ echo ${a[1]}

In your case you created an array with one element (the whole path). This is then not interpreted anymore as the path to search for executables. This PATH has to be a string of directories separated by colons, not an array.

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