Belize Lions Zone 59 National Convention held

The Island Newspaper, Ambergris Caye, Belize            Vol. 13, No. 17            May 8, 2003

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San Pedro Lions Queen Emily Verde, Nita Marin, Lisette and Isela Graniel

The 26th National Belize Lions Zone 59 Convention was held last weekend from May 2nd-4th, 2003 in Belize City. Hosted by the Belize City Lions Club, the convention venue was the Lion's building and compound adjacent to the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.

    At the official opening on Friday evening, Master of Ceremonies, Lion Leo Cuellar introduced the attending dignitaries and special guests. Belize City Lions President Rita Douglas performed the welcome address and His Lordship Mayor David Fonseca greeted and welcomed the conventioneers to Belize City. Zone Chairman Ali Kisling then gave a short address on his stewardship for the past term. He also presented the "Lion of the Year" award to Lion Libby Vega, a founding member of the San Estevan Lions Club.

    Mr. Nuri Mohammed of the Youth for the Future Program delivered the Keynote Address focusing his speech on the theme of this year's convention, "Lions Serving Youths - Enriching the Future". He asked the Lions for their involvement and commitment in dealing with the many problems that Belizean youth are experiencing. He also made suggestions on how to help and promote orientation programs where the youth can get involved and enrich their lives for tomorrow's future. 

    There were also two free raffles held during the night. Convention Chairman, Lion Glenn Espadas closed the official ceremony and invited all to the Hospitality Booths. The official hospitality musical group was "Memo's San Pedro Lions" offering romantic and Caribbean music. Five booths were present and a lot of goodies, drinks and pastries were offered to the attendees, while judges were selecting the 1st and 2nd prize winners. San Pedro Lions decorated their booth with the colorful flowers and lace featured on the Mestizo dress the "hipil" and offered delicious snacks as well as refreshing drinks.

    Saturday morning featured inspirational Leadership Training Seminars coordinated by Past Zone Chairman Dr. Chris Bennett, which were well attended by the five clubs. Mr. Robert Taylor, a Growth Development Consultant, delivered ideas centered on attitudes, self-reliance, positive thinking and trust in every person. Two youths, Yolany Cocom and Travis Simpson gave a presentation pertaining to a Youth Rehabilitation Organization. These young men asked for the Lions' help and guidance on the many problems facing Belizean youth, such as alcohol, drugs, sexual abuse, education, street delinquency, teenage pregnancy- etc.

    On Saturday afternoon, five hardworking San Pedro Lions joined 10 other Lion members in a Community Service Project, painting an old cemetery located in the Yarborough area of Belize City, now called "The Sanker Park and Playground".

    An evening of fun and entertainment followed on Saturday night, where each club gave its presentation. Following the presentations, the Lion queens were introduced, and each gave their own cultural and talent performance. Much recognition should be given to San Pedro Lions Queen Emily Verde and the members of the San Pedro Dance Company (Luisana and Liliana Nuñez, Deli Eiley, and Lisette Graniel) who paid tribute to the Lions Peace Poster created by contest Merit Award winner Amanda Nuñez of Belize City. Another dance featured the story of Ambergris Caye, narrated by Miss Verde who emerged from a clamshell to represent the "pearl of the sea". She informed the crowd that the island had gone through many changes: from a land of the Maya and a harbor for European travelers to a haven for refugees and the residents of the present day. She stated that throughout all of this change, culture and traditions had been preserved. The San Pedro Queen ended with the Spanish dance "La Senorita from Fiesta Land," which brought the crowd to their feet in applause. The San Pedro Lions give thanks to the creators and organizers of the San Pedro presentation, friends of Lions - Gach Guerrero, Pinita Verde, Manuel Ancona Jr., Lily Nuñez and David Marin for their hard work. Also, much appreciation is extended to Rosita Baltazar for her choreography and the Belize Arts Council for generously providing lighting for the presentation.

    The evening's program ended with Miss Shaquila Young of Belize City being crowned the 2003/2004 Belize Lions Zone 59 Queen. The dance continued with the Sam Hamilton band providing delightful music.

    Sunday morning began with a church ceremony at the All Saints Church, while other Lions prepared floats for the parade. Three clubs entered the float competition, which ended at noon with a jolly group of Lions singing and dancing on the parade route. Following the parade, awards, food and music continued the festivities. The Master of Ceremonies announced the convention winners as follows: 1) Hospitality Booth: 1st place - Belmopan Lions Club, 2nd place - San Pedro Lions Club; 2) Best Organized Club in the Parade: 1st place - San Pedro Lions Club, 2nd place - Belmopan Lions Club and 3) Best Float: 1st place - Belmopan Lions Club, 2nd place - San Pedro Lions Club.

    The venue for the next Zone 59 Convention will be in San Estevan, hosted by the San Estevan Lions Club. Also announced was the newly-elected Belize Lions Zone 59 Chairman - Lion Albert "Beto" Mahler from Belize City Lions Club and the Deputy Zone Chairman - Lion Bobby Lopez from Belmopan Lions Club.

    Ending the convention, special recognition was given to the Chetumal Lions Club of Mexico who attended with a delegation of five couples headed by President Ricardo Marufo.

Information provided by Lions Beto Marin and Dr. Chris Bennett.
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