|San Pedro Lions celebrate the 29th National Lions’ Convention as they parade in downtown San Pedro.|
|Lion “Tio Pil” was awarded for his excellence, loyalty and dedication to the club. |
Members and dignitaries rendezvoused in beautiful Ambergris Caye at the Central Park on Friday, April 29th for the 29th Annual Lion’s Convention. The three day event observed the theme “Lion’s and Youth; Keeping the passion of Service Burning.” On Friday, the official opening of the convention kicked off at the Central Park and present were Lion members representing Belize district, San Estevan, Merida, Mexico, Belize City and of course San Pedro.
Conventioneers were officially welcomed by Master of Ceremonies, Lion Angel Nunez, as he called to order the initiation of the night’s ceremony who gave a hearty welcome to those gathered. Next was an invocation done by Lion Angel Guerrero, whom in his speech blessed those present and thanking them for their support of the Lion’s during their continued strive for betterment on the island. Elsa Paz was called to the podium for her welcome speech, she expressed her insights and saluted them for their hard work; “we all know that the word ‘Lions’ is synonymous to ‘Serving’ and what better way to prove this than by the tireless work they have done. […] like the rest of the country, San Pedro has seen its fair share of Lion leaders including District Governors. It is because of you, exemplary people from throughout Belize that it is safe to say that the future of lionism in Belize will prevail.” The congregate were then called to sing the National Anthem and a moment of silence was observed in memory of the deceased Lion members. The distinguished guests were announced which include; Sister Caritas Lawrence, Minister of Education Honorable Francis Fonseca, and Licenciado Luis Camparan Jaramillo of the Merida Lions Club. The lovely Lions Queens of the different clubs were on hand also to celebrate the occasion as well; Natalie Aleman, (Lions 59 Queen), Delsie Anadely Graniel, (San Pedro Lions Queen), Kayla Grant, (Belize City Lions Queen), Arisa Lauren Cardona, (Belmopan) and Lenny Yvette Ayuso (San Estevan) all represented their district clubs. A Special Tribute was given to Lion Felipe “Tio Pil” Paz (MJF) for his contribution towards the club and his unswerving loyalty and dedication to the entire zone. Tio Pil is popularly known in Ambergris Caye as a chartered member of the club since October of 1995. He has been a very active member and has earned several awards at club level, including President’s Appreciation Awards and Perfect Attendance records. Tio Pil is a key figure in keeping the carnival tradition alive for many years, and up until today is considered one of San Pedro’s great leaders.
For entertainment, the clubs had several spectacular cultural presentations done by the various groups. One highlight of the evening was the cultural presentation of “Ma Joan” which was performed by Mel Spain and company; the group all dressed in costumes presented a skit on the bus crisis and other issues presently affecting Belize. The program then proceeded with three separate raffles during the ceremony and lucky winners, Lydia Lavin, Flor Nunez, Nazle Vasquez and Lisa Forman walked away with great prizes.
Special guest speaker Sister Caritas Lawrence took to the podium for a superb speech on the Lion Quest program and other Lion activities and accomplishments. On hand also was Honorable Francis Fonseca, Minister of Education who addressed the crowd and expressed his gratitude towards the Lions for their past work and saluted them for their continued help to the less fortunate. Last but not least, Lion President, Isela Graniel wrapped things up with the vote of thanks and invited the congregate to the hospitality booths that were set up under the palapa. Belize district, San Estevan, Belize City and San Pedro Lions club showcased a hospitality booth that was open for visitors to enjoy the variety of tasty food, drinks and give-away items. The night ended with the music sensations of the undeniable “Rompe Raja” band.
On Saturday, Lion members participated in a full day of forums and speeches and in the afternoon took time to dedicate to the community with a wonderful community service. And, on Sunday, they celebrated the end of the festivities with a grand parade which ended at the Boca del Rio Park. There at the park, they had a full day of sports and lots of food and drinks. It was a great day under the sun enjoyed by all.
A heartfelt thank you is extended to everyone involved in the 29th annual Convention. We would like to especially thank Papi’s Diner, Hacal Kiik, Elvi’s Kitchen, Carola Kumul, Angel Nuñez, Wilema Gonzalez, Lions, SPTC, and the Area Representative for making the convention such a huge success!