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Georgia woman jailed in Cayman Islands for breaking COVID-19 rule

Skylar Mack, 18, of Georgia was supposed to enter a 2-week quarantine when she arrived, however broke it together with her boyfriend, her lawyer stated.

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico — A U.S. school pupil and her boyfriend have been sentenced to 4 months in jail within the Cayman Islands for violating strict COVID-19 measures following a latest ruling that will likely be appealed, their lawyer stated Thursday.

Skylar Mack, 18, of Georgia, and Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, of the Cayman Islands, have been in jail since Tuesday, when the ruling was issued. That they had each pleaded responsible, however their lawyer, Jonathon Hughes, stated he’ll argue for a much less extreme sentence subsequent week.

“They’re two younger individuals who have by no means been in hassle earlier than,” he stated in a telephone interview with The Related Press. “That is the primary time they’ve had interplay with police, the courts, jail.”

Mack, who’s enrolled as a pre-med pupil at Mercer College in Macon, Georgia, arrived within the Cayman Islands on Nov. 27 and was purported to bear a two-week quarantine as mandated by the federal government, which electronically tracks anybody who arrives within the British Caribbean territory. Nevertheless, she broke quarantine on Nov. 29 when her boyfriend picked her as much as attend a water sports activities occasion, Hughes stated.

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After their arrest, a choose dominated the couple had to supply 40 hours of neighborhood service and pay a $4,400 fantastic. As well as, Ramgeet was ordered to a two-month curfew that may begin at 7 p.m. However the prosecution appealed, arguing the punishment was unduly lenient and wouldn’t deter different potential violators. A better court docket determined in favor of prosecutors, ruling on Dec. 15 that the couple be imprisoned instantly.

The Cayman Compass newspaper reported that Choose Roger Chapple stated throughout Tuesday’s sentencing that the choice to violate security measures was born of “selfishness and conceitedness,” including in its report that Mack spent seven hours out in public with out a face masks or social distancing.

“This was completely deliberate and deliberate, as evidenced by her need to modify her wristband the day earlier than to a looser one which she was then in a position to take away,” he was quoted as saying, referring to the digital monitoring gadget.

Hughes stated the sentence is the primary of its sort, including that Mack’s household is worried: “They’re anxious for her as a result of she’s in jail out of the country on her personal. Whereas that is one thing she introduced on herself, it’s very distressing for her.”

The couple have been collectively for seven months. Hughes stated he does not understand how they met. He famous that Ramgeet is a aggressive jet skier like Mack’s father.

The woman’s grandmother, Jeanne Mack, advised the AP that she reached out to U.S. President Donald Trump and acquired an e-mail from a staffer saying the White Home would look into the matter.

In her telephone calls from jail, “the minute she begins speaking, she begins crying,” she stated. “She’s afraid that when she makes it again to the States, everybody will hate her.”

Mack, who lives exterior of Atlanta, stated her granddaughter determined she needed to be a health care provider at age 10 and requested for a suture package at her birthday a few years later.

The couple are the primary to be sentenced underneath an amended legislation focusing on COVID-19 violators. The unique legislation known as for a $2,400 fantastic and as much as six months in jail, whereas the not too long ago amended legislation requires a $12,000 fantastic and as much as two years in jail.

Underneath the unique legislation, a Canadian couple discovered responsible of violating coronavirus measures have been ordered to pay a $1,200 fantastic every.

The Cayman Islands, a territory of practically 62,000 folks, has reported greater than 300 coronavirus circumstances and two deaths.

AP reporter Jeff Martin in Atlanta contributed to this story.

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