Belize, through its National Drug Abuse Control Council (NDACC) recently hosted members of the James Hendricks Memorial Drug Abuse Treatment and Prevention Workshop. The workshop was sponsored and facilitated by the Organization of American States (OAS/CICAD) and training was held May 17 -21, 1999 at the Radisson Fort George Hotel and Marina. Professionals from throughout the Atlantic Coast of Central America, who work in drug demand reduction, in a variety of fields such as social work, education, health care, the clergy and the prison system were involved in the exercise.
Members of the workshop traveled to La Isla Bonita on Wednesday, May 19th where they were hosted with a day of activities. The delegation of approximately 45 persons arrived via the Triple J and an official welcome ceremony was held at Fido's Courtyard. Doing the honor of Mistress of Ceremonies was Ms. Trisha Estell who introduced Lisa Sharp, a student from San Pedro R.C. School, to sing the National Anthem. Mayor Alberto Nuñez gave the official welcome to the delegation followed by Lliani Paz, Chairperson for the Ambergris Historical Society Museum. Mrs. Paz gave a brief history on the first inhabitants of Ambergris Caye. Mr. Lucio Guerrero, one of San Pedro's renown personalities also briefed the gathering about the lifestyle of San Pedro in the past. Maria Lanza, Principal of the San Pedro Roman Catholic School and key organizer of the visitation program, then addressed the crowd. During her address Mrs. Lanza commented, " I recall eight months ago, I was also a member of a delegation that visited the beautiful and unforgettable country of Nicaragua. A place where fond memories of friendship made the workshops and tours an important part of my personal development. Experiences that will last a lifetime. Knowledge that helps me as an educator. It is with this in mind that I personally thank Mr. Willy Anderson and the facilitators for the wealth of knowledge that I gained and which I am sure all of you are being given now." Hon. Patty Arceo again welcomed the group and thanked them for their efforts in contributing towards the battle against drugs. The formal welcome ceremony came to a close with entertainment provided by the San Pedro Dance Company.
The delegation then boarded two boats captained by Norman Eiley and Rico Black for a visit to Hol Chan Marine Reserve and Stingray and Shark Alley. Accompanying the delegation in this part of the activities was Ms. Anne Hayden of Green Reef. After a great time at sea, the delegation rendezvoused at Mar de Tumbo where a special lunch, "Island-style," was prepared by Susana Eiley. After a hearty lunch participants toured the Ambergris Museum, toured the island and had time to do some souvenir shopping. The group departed to Belize City at 5:30 p.m. all with smiling faces and a very good impression of La Isla Bonita.
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