Senators Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) submitted a letter to the U.S. Embassy’s Acting Consul General requesting the release of Skylar Mack. The senators expressed concern for the welfare of Mack, an 18-year-old college student jailed for breaking the Cayman Islands’ quarantine rules.
In their letter, Loeffler and Perdue acknowledged the impact of COVID-19 and the Cayman Islands’ authority to impose its pandemic-related regulations and sentencing. However, according to the two senators, Mack has reportedly received a substantial amount of death threats for the incident.
“Ms. Mack has admitted guilt, regrets her actions, paid a substantial fine, and been incarcerated for over a week,” wrote the senators. “However, it is the sincere hope of her parents that she can safely and expeditiously return home to continue her studies as a pre-med student at Mercer University. Her family has also expressed serious concern about her safety, as she has received numerous threats against her life following the publicity of her case.”
Last month, Mack flew to the Cayman Islands to watch her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, compete in a jet ski racing national championship. Per the law, Mack was required to undergo a 14 day quarantine and given an electronic monitoring bracelet to wear on her wrist, as well as a cellphone containing an app called “Stay Safe Cayman” to log her quarantine location.
The Cayman Islands government will only release an individual from quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19 on the 15th day of their quarantine. It appears from a Facebook post that Mack may have already tested positive for the COVID-19 antibodies at the end of August. Researchers discovered in the past week that COVID-19 antibodies may last up to 8 months.
Several days into her quarantine, Mack learned that her entry PCR test results for COVID-19 were negative. Mack removed the bracelet and left her hotel room to watch Ramgeet compete. Authorities detained the pair after members of the public reported Mack for breaking quarantine. Ramgeet was charged with aiding and abetting Mack.
Initially, Mack and Ramgeet were sentenced to 40 hours of community service and fined over $3,000. After the prosecutor appealed, a higher court viewed the original judgment as too lenient and sentenced Mack to four months’ imprisonment on December 15th. Mack appealed in return; her sentence was reduced to two months.
Prior to her initial sentencing, Mack wrote several apology letters. The student noted that the action was “the biggest mistake of her life so far.” According to the law, Mack could have received up to two years’ prison time and a $10,000 fine.
Cayman Island law allows for sentences under one year to be reduced by 60 percent. According to this possibility, the couple’s attorney stated that Mack may be released by January 20th at the earliest. The early release date would be nearly two weeks after Mack’s classes are scheduled to resume.
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Corinne Murdock is a reporter at The Georgia Star News and the Star News Network. Follow her latest on Twitter, or email tips to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo “Skylar Mack” by Skylar Mack and Vanjae Ramgeet is by Vanjae Ramgeet / Facebook.