JIS News

Jamaican born Earl Robinson, was recently honoured by the Commonwealth Youth Exchange Council (CYEC), for 30 years of outstanding service to the organisation.Founded in 1974, CYEC is dedicated to promoting and supporting youth development through two-way exchange between young people in the UK and Commonwealth nations.
Mr. Robinson first got involved in the programme in 1974 when he assisted with a youth exchange to Nigeria. At the time, he was employed to the Leicester City Council Education Department. He organised the first youth exchange to Jamaica in 1979. “The Prospect Cadet Band came over and we took a group to Jamaica in 1979,” he told JIS News.
Mr. Robinson said he was motivated to be involved in the project because he felt that young people in the UK could learn a lot from their counterparts in Jamaica.
“We have a lot of skills and we are very artistic but we need exposure and resources. In the UK, there are some young people who are born in this country but they don’t have the gumption to succeed. So what I want through the exchange, is for them to see how young people with far less resources than they, can and have succeeded,” he said.
“When we take young people (to Jamaica) they see the level of talent that is developed, this makes the young people see that they have a lot of things going for them,” he added.
Mr. Robinson gave the example of taking a track team from the UK to participate in a parish athletic meet in Jamaica during the celebration of the country’s 21st anniversary of Independence.
“The team from the UK was decked out in all the best athletics gear and everything, but they were faced with the talent from the young Jamaicans, some of whom were running barefoot, yet they were beating them. It was a very eye opening experience for them”, he related to JIS News.
He informed that through the programme groups such as the Jamaica Military Band, the Jamaica folk Singers, Movements Dance group, Ashe and the St. Anne’s Dancers have also been brought up to the UK.
Mr. Robinson said he wished to see the links between Jamaica and CYEC strengthened to benefit young people in Jamaica and the UK.

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