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Aug 19, 2022

Police & Coast Guard Team Up to Teach Belize City Kids to Swim

Thirty-two children from twelve neighborhoods in Belize City received certificates after completing four days of learning basic swimming techniques. The children, ages five to fourteen, gathered each morning at the Princess Hotel pool for three hours, except on Thursday when the tropical wave passed. There, two Belize Coast Guard officers taught them what they needed to know to be able to swim. It was a joint effort by the Belize Police Department and the Belize Coast Guard. News Five’s Marion Ali was there to capture the closing ceremony. Here’s that report.


Marion Ali, Reporting

For the past five days, these children have been learning how to swim. As simple as it looks, swimming is an ability that one has to master. And Ensign Andrew Moody and a co-trainer from the Belize Coast Guard spent the week teaching them how to perfect their swimming skills.


Ensign Andrew Moody

Ensign Andrew Moody, Swimming Instructor, Belize Coast Guard

“We get them acquainted with the water by getting their face under the water and then we do bobs, which is we have them holding on the edge of the pool and then ducking their heads under the water, blowing up the air, coming up without wiping their face to get them used to that water running down their face and then they take in a breath. After we finish with that then we go into the basic floating techniques. And then after we get them acquainted with the different floats, then we move into the different glides.”


But because these physical techniques that are associated with swimming are strenuous on the body, people with breathing issues may learn at a slower pace.


Ensign Andrew Moody

“People with breathing problems, it will pose a challenge, but it’s not necessarily that they can’t learn how to swim. It will just take a slower process and it will be a lengthier process because first of all, they will have a bigger fear.”


For safety reasons, children with asthma and other debilitating issues were not part of the program. The participants were selected by officers who make up the Belize Police Department’s Community Policing Unit. Ahmani Gillett and Lyndon Young shared their experiences with us.


Lyndon Young

Lyndon Young, Took swimming lessons

“I learn lotta thing new and ih mi fun.”



“What was the scariest part for you?”


Lyndon Young

“Ih neva scary. Yoh breathe in and yoh hold it and (chuckling) then yoh like lay down and that’s it.”


Marion Ali

“What was the most difficult part for you?”


Ahmani Gillett

Ahmani Gillett, Took swimming lessons

“Definitely, learning to control my breathing and not swallowing water of course. I think that’s it.”



“Were you a little bit frightened when you just started?”


Ahmani Gillett

“Definitely, I’m not used to being in such, somewhat deep water, but I’m confident that I will be able to handle myself from this day forward.”


But the skill of swimming is one that Commander of the department’s Eastern Division, Assistant Commissioner Howell Gillett, pointed out could be a life-saver in far more serious situations than casual swimming.


Howell Gillett

A.C.P., Howell Gillett, Commander, Eastern Division, B.P.D.

“I’ve had an informal meet with the Commandant of the Coast Guard and he has signaled to me that yes, we will go ahead and – we don’t only want it for one week – we want it for the future. Because there can be disastrous times when swimming will be a necessity. You could save your own life or the life of someone else as a consequence of what you’ve learned here this week.”

Minister of Defense and Border Security, Oscar Mira, underscored that the ability to swim can also pay off in other areas.


Oscar Mira

Oscar Mira, Minister of Defense & Border Security

“For those kids who would want to join the Belize Coast Guard when you get older, this is one of the things that is required for you to join the Coast Guard. If you want to join the Police Department, it’s also a skill that will help you in doing your work. And if you want to join the Belize Defense Force, it’s also a skill that will be needed to join.”


While the coast guard officers taught the children how to swim, the officers of the Community Policing Unit kept them entertained after their sessions by sharing jokes and feeding them each day. Marion Ali For News Five.


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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