XI BGI Annual Conference 2008 - Cancun, Mexico

As in every year and, this time for the eleventh consecutive year, Balms Group International held its Annual Conference, giving all members the opportunity to meet, not just to take important decisions regarding the future of the network, but also to commemorate past events and to build a stronger relationship between the members.

Date 02/06/2008

This year, taking up the offer of our Mexican partners to hold the Conference n their country, it was decided that the best place to celebrate this event would be the Cancun area, on the Maya Riviera. The dates were from May 21st ? 25th 2008 and the hotel chosen for the speakers and guests and for the Conference sessions was Fairmont Mayakoba, a recently opened resort hotel in a famous tourist resort, located on a mangrove swamp inside a wonderful landscape which combines forest with the coastal.

Although many BGI members were missing from this Annual meeting due to health problems, work responsibilities and other unexpected reasons, there were representatives of ten law firms belonging to BGI and a candidate law firm from Washington.

The Conference programme began at 8.00 pm, on 21st May with a Mexican welcome cocktail party held on the terrace of "La Laguna" restaurant. This Annual Conference lasted five wonderful days, during which Conference sessions and the Annual General meeting were followed by trips, dinners, tours and other relaxing and enjoyable moments, a very clear reflection of the coexistence and friendship of BGI members.

On 22 ndMay,all the delegates met in the Riviera Ballroom for the first session of the conference meetings. The speech of one of our guests, Mr. Juan Jose Gallardo Valencia, managing partner of Colliers Cancun, on The acquisition of real estate in Mexico by foreigners", was followed by the report of Mr Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada, as president, which dealt with issues of accounting, past and future objectives, communication between BGI members through referral activity, new candidate law firms and possible future new members of the network etc. After dealing with these issues widely, the session was closed and delegates, together with guests, went for lunch to "El Puerto" restaurant. The afternoon of the first day of the Conference was taken up with a trip around Playa del Carmen, a very well-known tourist area of Cancun, in the evening, everyone enjoyed a Mayan dinner at "Yaxche", a restaurant typical of the area.

Friday 23rd May, the Conference session was devoted to a speech by Dr. Juan Felipe Armida, partner in Madrazo & Armida, who spoke about "intellectual Property in Mexico".

After a short coffee break, the session resumed and all members sat around a horseshoe arrangement of tables, and discussion ranged over important topics including projects for BGI, proposals for future Conferences, solutions to problems of adverse situations, exchanges of experiences, re-election of the Executive Committee, etc. The session was closed at 2pm, concluding the Conference sessions and the Annual General meetings of partners and the Executive Committee.

Subsequently, guests and BGI members enjoyed lunch at "Las Brisas" restaurant, with a sea view. During the afternoon guests went on a trip to Cancun, where they enjoyed yet another delicious dinner, this time at "Puerto Madero" restaurant.

On the following day, Saturday 24th May, delegates and guests were taken by bus to Tulum for a guided tour around the Mayan archaeological ruins, and then they came back to hotel at midday, leaving the afternoon free. On Saturday evening as usual, the BGI gala dinner was held, this year being more innovative than usual. as the traditional tuxedo was replaced by the Mexican guayabera and evening dresses by what it is called "tropical formal style".

After a delicious dinner at "Las Brisas" restaurant in a most relaxed and friendly ambience enlivened by a group of musicians, the ceremonial gift of a plaque, as a tribute to the hosts of the Conference, lgnacio Armida and Jorge Madrazo, was made and subsequently speeches were delivered by them and by the BGI President. Also, the wives of the Mexican partners and the daughter of Mr Armida were given bouquets of flowers for their considerate and helpful contribution to the organization of the Conference.

The President thanked the two partners from the candidate law firm, Yelverton Law Firm of Washington, for attending. They had been invited to the event, but for work reasons they couldn't come to the Conference sessions and the Annual General Meeting, but were only able to attend the gala dinner. Dr. Stephen T. Yelverton and Mr. Wade H. Atkinson were delighted to attend this traditional event.

Included within the tributes, dedications and gratitude offered mention must be made, in particular, of a gift that Mr Juan Luis Balmaseda de Ahumada gave to his Mexican friends and partners, to whom he devoted a sonnet composed by him and his father, Mr. Juan Antonio Balmaseda de Ahumada, as an introduction to a book that has been published recently.

ln this atmosphere of high emotions, the 11th BGI Annual Conference came to an end, leaving the following day for a rest and to return home, thinking about the next meeting.

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