Student Who Was Jailed for Breaking Quarantine in Cayman Islands Apologizes


Skylar Mack, the American college student who was imprisoned in the Cayman Islands last month for violating coronavirus restrictions, said in an interview on Tuesday that she “deserved it.”

In a segment that aired on ABC’s “Good Morning America,” Ms. Mack, 18, apologized for breaking the rules and said that any anger toward her was justified. She was released on Friday after spending more than a month behind bars.

“I deserved it,” she said. “I was like, ‘You know what, I made this mistake, and it sucks, you know, but you did it to yourself.’”

After finishing the semester at Mercer University in Georgia in late November, Ms. Mack flew to the Cayman Islands to watch her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, compete in the islands’ Jet Ski racing national championship.

She arrived on a Friday and tested negative for the coronavirus. While the British territory’s laws required her to remain in her hotel room for 14 days, on Sunday, the day of the championship, she slipped the electronic monitoring bracelet from her wrist. She went to the beach and cheered on Mr. Ramgeet as he won first place.

In mid-December, a Cayman Islands court sentenced Ms. Mack and Mr. Ramgeet to four months in prison. After an outcry that the punishment was too harsh, a panel of judges reduced the sentence to two months. Her release after a little more than half that time was in line with what her lawyer, Jonathon Hughes, expected. (According to Cayman Islands law, he said, defendants need to serve just 60 percent of their sentences in prison.)

She was one of thousands of people around the world to be punished for breaching quarantine restrictions. Extensive travel restrictions have failed to stop the virus from spreading, with some people viewing themselves as above the rules.

Ms. Mack told “Good Morning America” that if she had gotten someone sick, she would not have been able to live with herself.

Mr. Ramgeet was also released on Friday, according to Jeanne Mack, Skylar’s grandmother, who said last month that her granddaughter struggled in prison.

“It’s just been one heartache after another,” Jeanne Mack said. “She’s bored, she has nothing to do there. She doesn’t want to sit in the common area and watch the TV because the Cayman news continues to blast her picture all over it.”

Jeanne Mack said she was worried that her granddaughter’s scholarship at Mercer, where she was a junior pre-med student, could be withdrawn because she had missed the first few weeks of the semester while in prison. A spokesman for Mercer, Kyle Sears, said on Monday that Skylar Mack was not enrolled for the spring semester and declined to comment further.



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