Household of U.S. Scholar Jailed for Quarantine Violation Pleads for Her Launch

The family of an 18-year-old student who broke coronavirus laws in the Cayman Islands on a trip last month has their release from prison ahead of a hearing on Tuesday before a jury that will decide whether her appeal can continue requested.

“She’s crying, she wants to come home,” said the student’s grandmother, Jeanne Mack, on NBC’s “Today” show Monday. “She knows she made a mistake. She has that to offer, but at the moment she’s pretty hysterical. “

Skylar Mack and her boyfriend Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, were sentenced to four months in prison after violating Cayman Island’s 14-day visitor quarantine period.

In late November, after completing her semester at Mercer University, Georgia, Ms. Mack flew to the Cayman Islands to watch her boyfriend compete in the islands national jet ski championship.

However, when she arrived there was a problem.

She got there on a Friday; The championship was on Sunday. And according to the laws of the country, she had to stay in her hotel room for 14 days before going anywhere else on the islands.

To evade the restrictions, after receiving a negative coronavirus test, Ms. Mack pulled an electronic surveillance bracelet from her wrist and fled to a beach on the South Sound of Grand Cayman, where she saw Mr. Ramgeet win first place.

However, organizers were told that Ms. Mack may have broken the rules and the police were called, her lawyer said. Ms. Mack was accused of leaving home during the quarantine period and Mr. Ramgeet was accused of helping and supporting her. You were sentenced to four months in prison for violating quarantine.


Dec. 22, 2020, 5:18 pm ET

“This was as blatant a violation as you can imagine,” Judge Roger Chapple said in court during the sentencing, according to Cayman Compass, a news website in the Cayman Islands. “It was born out of selfishness and arrogance.”

The islands, a British territory of nearly 65,000 people, reported 316 infections and two deaths as of Monday. Only people who have been pre-authorized to enter the Cayman Islands can travel there. According to the UK government, they must be quarantined in a government facility or at home for 14 days if approved.

Ms. Mack’s relatives in suburban Atlanta have made an effort to gather letters from friends and family confirming her character in order to overturn the appeal judgment, said Jeanne Mack, 68.

Jeanne Mack also wrote to President Trump for help. She received a response from the Office of Presidential Correspondence last week stating that her correspondence “has been forwarded to the appropriate federal agency for further processing.”

Justice Chapple said in court last week that “the gravity of the violation was so great that the only appropriate sentence would have been immediate detention,” according to the Cayman Compass.

The family and Skylar, a junior medical student, are under no illusions about what happened. Her grandmother said: What she did was wrong.

“I’ll do anything to get you home and if I bring you here I’ll kick your ass,” said Jeanne Mack. “We don’t say ‘poor, innocent Skylar’. We are simply saying that the punishment is not the crime. “

Skylar Mack and Mr. Ramgeet pleaded guilty to breaching quarantine rules and were initially sentenced to 40 hours of community service and a fine of 2,600 Cayman Islands dollars (approximately $ 3,100). But the sentence was increased last week after the prosecutor appealed, saying the initial sentences were “inappropriately mild and wrong in principle”.

Jeanne Mack said if the jury decides her appeal can go ahead on Tuesday, the family is hoping she will be released on bail pending appeal.

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