25 representatives from the Belize Lions Zone 59 Organization participated in the 69th Annual Isthmania Convention in Puerto Cortez, Honduras. During the opening ceremonies, Belize Lion Zone 59 was received at the convention to a thunderous applause after being absent from the convention for a number of years. At the strike of the Belize National Anthem, Lion Mel Spain of San Pedro Town proudly marched in with the Belizean flag as the audience stood at attention. During the opening ceremonies, International Director Carlos Ibanez explained the importance of keeping the Lionism spirit alive. In an exclusive interview with reporter Jorge Aldana, Ibanez stated that the struggle to increase the Belize Lions membership is a direct result of the global economic conditions. He went on to explain that like the Belize Lions Organization, many other countries are facing similar struggles to increase its members. He however congratulated the Belize Lions Organization for being instrumental in bringing help and service to its various communities in times of need. In conclusion, Ibanez explained that Belizeans should be grateful to the Lions Organization and he took the opportunity to encourage the leaders and decision makers to continue their support of the organization in Belize.
During the convention, the President of the Republic of Honduras, Porfirio “Pepe” Lobo Sosa, visited the conventioneers. In his address to the delegations, President Sosa stated that the work of Lionism has impacted all the countries in Central America. President Sosa further explained that his government has a lot of respect for the work that the Lions organization has shown to his country. He stated that his government and country remains committed to service of the organization and remains committed to assisting the Lions Organization in its work. The 62 year old President is a past Lions member but said he came out of the club to take on his political duties. However, he stated that he plans to return at the end of his Presidential term scheduled for 2014. The delegations from the different Central American nation however voted for the President to be re-installed as an Honorary Lions Members. After accepting the honorary position and installation, the Head of the Belize Delegation Zone 59 Chairman Baldemar Graniel presented him with the Belize Lions pin along with the other Central American Lions Leaders. In speaking with several members of the Belize Delegation, the President of Honduras explained his appreciation to the Belizeans for giving support to his country’s clubs as they hosted this year’s convention. As part of his chat with the Belizeans, President Sosa explained that he will be visiting Belize in a few weeks, more likely in between June or July.
The Belizean Delegation also participated in the hospitality booth were hundreds of visitors had the opportunity to enjoy and appreciate the food, drinks, products and music of Belize. In addition, the Belize Delegation also participated in the country display parade from the Municipal Hall to the Central Part in Puerto Cortez. The Belizeans dressed in the different cultural costumes as they displayed the country’s ethnic groups.
At the close of the ceremony, Lions Zone 59 Chairman Baldemar Graniel expressed his gratitude to the Isthmania Governors for hosting Belize at this year’s convention. Graniel handed gifts of appreciation on behalf of the people and Lion Clubs of Belize to the Governor of Lions Organization of Honduras, President of the Isthmania Council of Governors and the Isthmania International Director. One of the direct results of Belize’s participation at this years’ convention is that in August, the Belize Lions Organization will be hosting the International Governor of the Lions Organization Carlos Ibanez for the very first time. The Belize Lions Organization will be preparing a special event for the occasion of the visit since; the country clubs has not seen the visit of an international director for over five years. The next Isthmania convention in 2011 will take place in Panama. (Submitted by San Pedro Lions Secretary Jorge Aldana).