American Teen Sentenced to 4 Months in Prison in Cayman Islands for Ignoring COVID-19 Regulations

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An American teen and her boyfriend have been sentenced to four months in prison after she violated COVID-19 guidelines in Cayman Islands and he aided and abetted her. Skylar Mack, 18, who lives in Georgia, reportedly went to visit her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, who lives in the territory, and ignored the required 14-day quarantine, People reported.

Mack and Ramgeet, a professional jet ski racer, were sentenced to four months in prison after she broke the quarantine. Mack arrived in the Cayman Islands on Nov. 27 and left her residence on Nov. 29. Authorities said she removed her bracelet, meant to track her location, and then watched Ramjeet compete at a jet ski event, according to People. Authorities said they both socialized with others at the event for seven hours without masks. At the event, Mack and Ramjeet were detained by police.

Mack and Ramjeet were charged and placed in a quarantine facility until Dec. 15, People reported. They have both pleaded guilty.

“Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis in early 2020, the Cayman Islands Government has prioritized the safety of its residents and their protection from the global COVID-19 pandemic. To accomplish this goal the Government employed stringent isolation and social distancing policies,” the Cayman Islands Government told People in a statement. 

“Anyone wishing to enter the islands is required to quarantine in an approved facility, or at residence using monitoring technology... Breaches of quarantine may result in prosecution and penalties of up to $10,000 KYD [approximately $12,195 USD] and two years’ imprisonment,” the statement continued.

Initially the couple’s original sentence was 40 hours community service and a $2,600 fine, but the territory’s Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Patrick Moran, decided to appeal their sentence because he didn’t think it fit the crime, according to the Cayman Compass.

“These offenses should have been met with far more stringent measures,” Moran said in court on Dec. 14 “When it comes to a matter of deterrence, the sentences imposed are likely to have little to no effect on other like-minded individuals.”

An attorney for both Mack and Ramgeet told the court that he believes the new sentence is too harsh, and that both have already paid a significant price for their actions, according to the Compass. 

“There is no way that it can be right that a custodial sentence is imposed for a first-time offense on an 18-year-old defendant, who entered an early guilty plea,” said Hughes.

Ramgeet was also stripped of his victory at the jet ski event and had to return his prize money and trophy, the Compass reported. He was also required to write an apology to the Cayman Islands Watercraft Association, and won’t be allowed to compete in the first few races of 2021. They both apologized in letters to the Compass as well.

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