Belize Lions celebrate 25th convention

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 12, No. 17            May 3, 2002

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Debbie Ann Graniel pays tribute to the Coconut Industry

Members of the five Lions Clubs of Belize rendezvoused in beautiful Dangriga, Stann Creek District last weekend to celebrate their 25th Annual Convention. The three-day event, considered one of the best ever, observed the theme "LIONS - REACTING TO CURRENT NEEDS". 

    On Friday, April 26th, the official opening of the convention was held on the lawn of the Zabaneh residence in the heart of Dangriga. Conventioneers were officially welcomed by Dangriga Mayor Cassian Nunez who extended a hearty welcome to Dangriga, the "Culture Capital" of Belize. After dinner the gathering was addressed by the keynote speaker, Mr. Denzil Jenkins, former CEO of Belize Food Products Ltd. One of the highlights of the evening was the presentation of the Lion of the Year Award, which was jointly presented to San Pedro Lion Edilberto "Betito" Marin, and Lion Ali Kissling of the Belmopan Lions Club. Special recognition was also given to Lion Alberto "Beto" Mahler of Belize City for his contribution as Public Relations Chairman and his unswerving loyalty and dedication to the zone chairman and the entire zone. Following the opening ceremony, the hospitality booths were opened for visitors to enjoy a variety of tasty food, drinks and give-away items.

    On Saturday, April 27th training seminars and plenary sessions were featured. Mrs. Bridget Cullerman, Dr. Chris Bennett and Lion Carlos Santos gave several very informative presentations, and numerous members and guests shared fellowship and ideas to improve the Lionistic service in Belize. Of great importance during the plenary session was the election of the new zone chairman. The crowd unanimously voted Lion Ali Kissling of Belmopan as zone chairman and Lion Beto Mahler of Belize City as vice-zone chairman. Belize City was then identified as the next convention site. During the training seminar, guests were offered a tour of Hopkins Village and other neighboring sites. In the afternoon, Lions of each club conducted a landscaping project along the coastline of Dangriga where they planted coconut trees as a memento of their visit. In the evening, the conventioneers were entertained by cultural presentations given by each Club and Club Queen, as well as a special performance by the "Children of CHATUYE" from Dangriga. San Pedro's cultural presentation was performed by students of Lydia's Institute of Fine Education who depicted the ethnic people from all six districts of Belize in a dance presentation entitled "All a we da one." San Pedro Lions Queen Debbie Ann Graniel gave one of the most spectacular performances as she demonstrated the rise and fall of the coconut industry in Ambergris Caye. Wearing an elaborate dress with palm frond headpiece, Debbie Ann danced to the song "Coconut Woman." The reigning Miss Lions Zone 59 Luisana Nuñez of San Pedro Town then gave her farewell address thanking the San Pedro Lions Club and the zone for giving her the opportunity to serve as their goodwill ambassador, especially during the Istmania Convention held in Nicaragua. Miss Nuñez then officially passed on the crown to Miss Sherima Usher of Stann Creek who will reign as Zone Queen 2002-2003 and is expected to attend the Istmania Convention in El Salvador this month. 

San Pedro Hospitality Booth

    On Sunday, April 28th the Lions attended Ecumenical Church Service at Sacred Heart Church before the parade through the main streets of Dangriga. Following the parade, the group congregated at the convention site for the closing remarks and an awards ceremony.

    Throughout the convention, the San Pedro Lions Club depicted the coconut industry that once thrived in San Pedro with their theme "Planting seeds of ŽService' for a bountiful harvest." The intricate details put into their displays gained the San Pedro Lions Club the first prize trophy in the hospitality booth competition; second place went to the Belmopan Lions Club. In addition, San Pedro received a beautiful commemorative plaque donated by Lion Elbert Reid of the Stann Creek Lions Club. San Pedro also won first place in the float competition. The San Estevan Lions Club received the second prize and was recognized for having the highest percentage of Lion members registered at the convention. San Pedro had the largest amount of registered persons (excluding the Stann Creek Lions Club). First prize for the parade went to the Belize City Lions Club and second prize to the Belmopan Lions Club. The zone chairman then presented awards to various deserving Lions.

    The San Pedro Lions Club would like to take this opportunity to praise Lion Emelida "Melly" Kumul for her arduous work, planning for and leading up to the San Pedro delegation attending the convention. Special thanks also to Debbie Ann Graniel for her excellent performance at the convention. Muchas Gracias to Mrs. Lydia Guerrero and her team: Alexis Guerrero, Scarleth Delgado, Monique Del Valle, Melissa Guerrero and Veronica Aldana. Thanks to the ever-helpful Manuel Ancona Jr., Betty Ann Graniel, Miss San Pedro Dilcia Trejo, David Marin, Sofia Guerra, Vellie Williams, Melody Wolfe, Luisana Nuñez, Susan Boyd, and all who helped make the San Pedro Lions Club "shine" during this event. To everyone who gives continuous support to the club a most grateful THANK YOU.
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