Sentence for student Skylar Mack, 18, slashed in half after she was jailed in Cayman Islands for breaching Covid rules

Sentence for student Skylar Mack, 18, slashed in half after she was jailed in Cayman Islands for breaching Covid rules

12/23/2020

CAYMAN Islands judges sentenced an 18-year-old American college student to two months in jail for violating the territory's mandatory Covid-19 quarantine period.

Skylar Mack, a college student at Mercer University in Georgia, was sentenced to two months in jail after her lawyers pleaded before a panel of Cayman Island judges their original four-month sentence was too harsh.


The first year college student traveled to the vacation destination with her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, after Mack finished her first semester at the Georgia college.

However, they violated the Cayman Islands' mandatory 14-day quarantine period for tourists, and were swiftly sentenced to four months in jail.

Luckily, their lawyer argued that the four month sentenced was too harsh for the two youths, and instead said the two ask the people of the tourist destination for forgiveness.

"Whilst it was our hope that Skylar would be able to return home to resume her studies in January, we accept the decision of the court and look forward to receiving its written reasons in due course," lawyer Jonathon Hughes said in a statement.


Jeanne Mack, Mack's grandmother, also urged the panel of judges to reconsider their sentencing prior to their Tuesday decision.

"She cries, she wants to come home," the 68-year-old grandma said. "She knows she made a mistake. She owns up to that, but she’s pretty hysterical right now."

Mack's grandma even wrote to President Trump for help, receiving a letter last week from the Office of Presidential Correspondence that her note was sent "to the appropriate federal agency for further action."

Mack flew down to the Cayman Islands in late November to watch her boyfriend compete in the territory's jet sky racing national championship.

However, she flew down on the Friday before the Sunday championship, violating the country's 14 day mandatory quarantine requiring her to be in her hotel room for the two-week period.

After testing negative for the coronavirus and to get past the requirements, Mack slipped out of an electronic monitoring bracelet placed on her wrist.

She then fled to a beach on the Grand Cayman' South Sound and watched her boyfriend place first in the competition.


However the celebration didn't last long as the event organizers were notified of Mack's breach of the country's rules and called the police to detain her.

She was charged with leaving her home during the quarantine period, with Ramgeet receiving an aiding and abetting charge.

"This was as flagrant a breach as could be imagined," Justice Roger Chapple said in court. "It was born of selfishness and arrogance."

The British territory, which boasts a population of almost 65,000 people, has only reported 316 coronavirus infections and two deaths, with no local transmission cases since July.

Only those preauthorized to enter the territory can travel there, and must quarantine at home or in a government or private location.

Visitors then receive a smart bracelet and are given a phone with the app Stay Safe Cayman, which tracks and logs where they are quarantining. Visitors can then end their quarantines by testing negative for the virus on their 15th day on the island.

Trump's son Eric tweeted Tuesday that the four-month sentence was unjust. "This is infuriating. Skylar is an 18 year old girl who left her hotel to watch her boyfriend compete in a jet ski competition… 4 months in jail?!"

Mack is the daughter of professional jet ski racer Dennis Mack. He and her family agree she was in the wrong.

"I’ll do everything to get you home, and when I get you here, I’m going to kick your butt," Jeanne Mack said. "We’re not saying, 'poor, innocent Skylar.' We’re simply saying the punishment does not meet the crime."

Mack and her boyfriend pled guilty to breaking quarantine and were sentenced to 40 hours of community service and fined 2,600 Cayman Island dollars, equalling about $3,100.

However, the punishment was increased when the prosecutor appealed, saying the original sentence was "unduly lenient and wrong in principle."

Chapple then said that "the gravity of the breach was such that the only appropriate sentence would have been one of immediate imprisonment."

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