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Dr. Joyce Robinson, OJ, CD, MBE, A Cultural Stalwart

As the Jamaica Cultural Development Commission (JCDC) celebrates its 50th anniversary, it remembers Dr. the Honourable Joyce Robinson as a leader extraordinaire, a woman with a passion and vision, and one of the pioneers from the 1960s who contributed significantly to the institutionalization of the then Festival Office now JCDC. With an unquenchable passion for excellence, she was integrally woven into cultural development. Her dynamic and immense participation in this regard, made her one of the critical players in the early cultural movement, a cradle for the formation of a national identity and the emergence of a vibrant Jamaican cultural life during post independence. Serving unselfishly, she utilized all the resources in her power to mould and shape the Commission.

A multifaceted and transformational leader, she dived into many areas of policy and development which provided the necessary conditions conducive for the evolution of the commission, enhancing national development through cultural programmes. Her commitment to cultural development was consistently demonstrated in all her portfolios of responsibilities associated with the Commission.

In 1968, she became a member of the board and distinguished herself in serving in this capacity. For many years, since this time, she provided invaluable support in the formulation of critical projects and policies which helped to streamline the operations of the Commission.

According to Mr. Hugh Nash, CD, JP, former JCDC Chairman, noted that in 1964, she became a member of the Jamaica Festival National Committee. As the chairperson of the Drama and Speech sub-committee of that national committee, she conceptualized and produced an annotated anthology of Jamaica and Caribbean plays which was used by schools and communities.

One of the seminal contributions made by her as then Director of the Jamaica Library Service was the utilization of critical resources of that organization which helped to fuel the formation of the Commission. She made available office spaces for festival committee meetings and provided administrative support to the festival parish committees. All parish librarians, under her leadership served as secretaries of the parish festival committees.

To former Senior Coordinator for the Visual Arts, Miss Lee Binns who worked for more than 24 years at the Commission remembers her as a cultural enthusiast. She further added that she worked hard to bring about transformation in the early years of the JCDC by generating funds as a treasurer of the then Kingston and St. Andrew festival parish committee.

The contributions made by Dr. Robinson to the cultural life of Jamaica were indeed invaluable and has left a proud heritage for the Commission and by extension Jamaica. The Jamaica Cultural Development Commission salutes the memory of this great Jamaican for her sterling contributions and  joins many others in hailing her excellence to public service.

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