He Dived At The Split And Never Resurfaced

And like the Tracey's, the Gillett family is also in mourning after a tragic drowning this weekend. 34-year-old Rashaad Gillett was visiting the Split at Caye Caulker with about 13 of his family members - a trip to enjoy the long weekend. But shortly after they arrived, Gillett dove into the water and didn't resurface. Medical professionals at the scene and at the polyclinic performed CPR, but it was futile, and Gillett succumbed. And while his family grieves, they choose to do so by reminiscing on the well-known traffic inspector and father of one. Courtney Menzies has this story.

The Gillett family decided to spend a sunny Sunday at the Split in Caye Caulker, but only about an hour after they arrived on the island, 34-year-old Rashaad Gillett jumped in head first, plunging to his death. A tourist who saw him go in alerted the family that Gillett hadn't resurfaced and when they pulled him out of the sea, his pulse was weak.

When they got to the polyclinic, Gillett - a popular inspection officer - would take his final breath. And today as his family gathered, his father chose not to speak about the incident, but about his son.

Euan Gillett, Father of Deceased
"Rashaad was not the outgoing type, he didn't attend the clubs, the discos, the bars, the nice spot, the casinos and those things, from way back then, even though he is in his mid-30s that wasn't his thing, like myself and my other son, like what teenagers would normally do, he wouldn't. he was basically a home oriented individual. Had one daughter that's going to be 3, but Rashaad would remember things from way back with his great grandfather and his grandfather, he would hug up my mom and say, "gyal, Gwen." He was calm, quiet, and a lot of the people that he came in contact with due to his job said he was a quiet individual and real calming and relaxed them and, you know, because when you go to certain places there's a fear and an expectation, but they got on smoothly with him."

And even those he worked with felt the loss of his easy going presence, especially since, according to the Councilor in charge of Traffic Management, he'd been working at the City Hall for almost a decade.

Albert Vaughn, Councilor, Traffic Management
"First I would like to pass my condolences to the family, in particular the wife, and his extended family, the traffic department. When I got the news, councilor Cattouse was out there in the caye, it was devastating, it was shocking, couldn't believe it. Mr Gillett is one of our young and dynamic persons at our traffic department. He served almost 9 years at the City Council, he started as customer service and worked his way up, he's a technical person and so the loss of Mr Gillett will really impact the traffic department, in particular the inspection at the City Council."

"The traffic team held a vigil, a prayer for him, and everybody is just going around soberly, trying to grip what has happened."

And while some media reports say there were no doctors at the polyclinic, Gillett's father wanted to clarify that there was a doctor and a nurse on the scene, and two doctors at the clinic. All tried to assist, and while Gillett didn't make it, the family said they are grateful.

The City Council has pledged to step in and assist with Gillett's funeral arrangements.

Channel 7

Belize City Man on Family Outing Drowns In Caye Caulker

A thirty-four-year-old Belize City resident met a tragic end over the weekend on Caye Caulker. Rashaad Gillett, a well-known Belize City traffic officer, was at The Split on Sunday when he decided to go for a swim. Unbeknownst to his relatives who were on the beach, Gillett was facing serious difficulties in the water. Minutes later, individuals on the beach reportedly alerted those around that Gillett appeared to be in need of assistance. But, by that time it was too late. News Five’s Paul Lopez reports.

Paul Lopez, Reporting

Rashaad Gillett was enjoying a cool Sunday morning at the popular Split on Caye Caulker with his family, when tragedy struck. The thirty-four-year-old father reportedly jumped in the water for a swim. Moments later, his body was seen floating in the sea.

Euan Gillett, Father of Deceased.

“The only thing I will say about it, and I am hearing it this morning, and I saw a post, and I am not upset because I was out there too, but doctors were on the site. Little afterwards a doctor showed up, and when we put in on the cart another one came up and basically pushed my brother off the cart. There was a doctor. When I got to the hospital or the polyclinic, there were two other doctors. So there were four, contrary to what is being circulated on social media. Two was at the split, one, first, another one when they put in on the cart and two more were there.”

CPR was performed on Gillett, but it proved fruitless.

Euan Gillett, Father of Deceased.

“He was quiet, with respect to my other children and son. Always willing to do things, go out of his way to help others. Rashaad went to B.E.S., before it was at St Catherine’s, before moving to the present location nearby. Then after that he went to St John’s High School. From there he attended two years of a mechanic school in Los Angeles. Upon returning in late ‘08 he hung about for a couple years, before getting the job at City Council, where he was presently working until his unfortunate passing.”

Gillett was employed by the Belize City Traffic Department as a traffic officer. Motorists who encountered him at his desk noted his warm and welcoming personality. Albert Vaughan, the Belize City Councilor responsible for traffic management spoke of the great loss to the Department.

Albert Vaughan, Belize City Council

 “First of all if you allow me to send my sincere condolences to the family, particularly his wife and the father who I know well, also, to the extended family at the Belize City Council. Mr. Gillett is a great loss to us. He has been with the Council for over nine years. He started at customer service, so you can see where he went up. He is a technical person. He is not just a traffic officer. He is an inspector for vehicle. To hold that post, that has to be gazette and you have to be trained for it. It is a shock. This morning they held a little prayer vigil for him and for the family. It is unbelievable. People do not believe that Mr. Gillett gone just like that, nuh.”

Reports are that Gillett may have sustained an injury to the body when he jumped into the water. No one knows exactly how long Gillette was in the water struggling. By the time onlookers noticed that he was in need of assistance, his lifeless body had already floated a distance away from the split. Police say they are awaiting a postmortem.

ASP Fitzroy Yearwood, Communications Director, Belize Police Department

“Rashaad Gillett was at the famous split with friends and family. He went for a swim. Minutes later, the relatives, his relatives, heard people shouting. Mr. Gillett was removed from the water where they tried to resuscitate him. He was rushed to the Caye Caulker Polyclinic where he was pronounced dead by the medical officer there.”

In the meantime, Gillett’s family is preparing to lay him to rest.

Euan Gillett, Father of deceased

“It is just an unfortunate incident and situation that happened. I was right there. So, no further comments on the situation.”

Channel 5