BELIZE CITY, Wed. June 12, 2019– Former Collet Division area representative (1984 to 1989) and Mayor of Belize City (1984 to 1989), Frank Lizama, 88, of Cemetery Road, Belize City, who had been ailing from cancer for some time, lost the battle yesterday in a hospital in Orlando, Florida, USA.
Lizama, who was a master carver and teacher, had been living in Orlando, where he migrated after he was diagnosed with the dreaded disease.
One of Lizama’s sons, Stanley, said his father’s body will be arriving in Belize City on Monday, and his remains will be taken to the St. Martin De Porres Church on Vernon Street in Belize City on Wednesday, where he will lie in state in the church at 1:00 p.m.
The church service will commence at 2:00 p.m., after which he will be taken to the Lord Ridge Cemetery, where he will be buried with honors in the section of the cemetery that is designated for city mayors.
As mayor of Belize City, Frank Lizama had the honor of presenting the keys to the city to both the Queen, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, and to world sprint champion Marion Jones.
In 2013, Lizama was honored with Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE). Unfortunately, he was abroad, receiving treatment for cancer at the time. From his sick bed he conveyed that he was honored by the recognition and said he wished it was done earlier in his life.
Lizama’s passion was carving, and he got his first carving experience while he was a teenaged member of the Holy Redeemer Scouts. His work can be found all over the country. In Belize City, his biggest carving is the door at the Central Bank of Belize. Many of his works can be seen inside St. Martin De Porres Church.
In June 2017, the Magazine Road Skills Training Center was renamed the Frank A. Lizama O.B.E. Training Center, in his honor.
In dedicating the skills training center, then mayor, Darrell Bradley, said that Frank A. Lizama’s story is about commitment and entrepreneurship, and those attributes will always link him to the center. He said that for fifty years Lizama had been a trailblazer and that the students who passed through the skills training center should take him as a standard, someone to look up to, someone to inspire them to also succeed.
Bradley said that students from the Frank Lizama Training Center would be empowered with practical skills to go out into the community and not beg for a job, but be creators and self-starters.
At the dedication of the skills training center, Deputy Prime Minister Patrick Faber had said that Lizama was a teacher, a tradesman, and an entrepreneur. He said Lizama had his own business and he used his outstanding skills to feed his family.
Faber said that the dedication and commitment displayed by Lizama would be instilled in the students of the training center, so that they can succeed like he did.
Lizama said he was happy and honored that the skills training center was given his name. He said that he made many sacrifices in his lifetime, and at times he wondered whether what he had done would be recognized.
After he retired from politics, Lizama was active on current issues, and on many occasions he would mount his loud speaker on the top of his vehicle and drive around the city, educating the public.
At times he would pull to a halt and have a one-man meeting at a roadside in some areas in the city.
Stanley said that his father did not mince words, that he was known for his strictness and no-nonsense attitude. Stanley said that when his dad was the mayor of Belize City, he would be seen working on the streets and cleaning drains. He would tell officials to take off their neckties and get out of their offices and go and clean drains, and the city.
Lizama had said that Belizeans voted for him to get the job done, and he was about doing just that, and that made him many enemies.
Stanley said his dad leaves behind a legacy of hard work and dedication, of which his family and the city are proud.
Lizama conducted a training center under his house on Cemetery Road, where he shared his knowledge and skills in woodcarving with students from the area, so they could earn money to support themselves.
Two of his sons, Robert and Stanley, were his students, and they learned the trade well from their father, both now being accomplished woodcarvers.
Mr. Lizama’s eldest son, Francis, is a professional pilot who for many years piloted for the Belize Defence Force Air Wing. He retired from the Belize Defence Force and is now a pilot at Maya Airlines.
Mayor Lizama is survived by his wife, Sheena, who is also ailing; three sons- – Francis, Robert and Stanley Lizama; and three daughters, Anna, Sheena and Anita.
He is also survived by twelve grandchildren.