US Teen Who Was Jailed in Caribbean for Breaking COVID Rules Speaks Out

An American teenager who spent more than a month in a Cayman Islands jail is back home with her family and is speaking out about what she calls “a selfish decision.”

Eighteen-year-old Skylar Mack sat down with “Good Morning America” to talk about her experience, and to remind people to take the coronavirus pandemic seriously after she declined to follow protocols.

The teenager arrived on the island on Nov. 27 and was told she must quarantine for 14 days. Instead, she slipped the geo-tracking device off her wrist after two days to watch her 24-year-old boyfriend compete in a professional jet-skiing race.

“It was a conscious decision,” Mack said. “I can’t give you any good reason for it. I had signed the paper [agreeing to the terms].”

Mack, who is a pre-med student, says she tested negative for COVID and thought it would be safe for her to be at the beach if she followed social distancing guidelines. Instead, her lapse of judgment landed her in jail.

She and her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, were both detained for their roles in the incident. Initially, they were ordered to complete 40 hours of community service and pay a $2,600 fine. That soon changed, and the teen says she was stunned when she learned she faced a significant jail sentence.

“He started it 15 months and I broke down,” said Mack. “It was a very big jump from 40 hours community service to starting at 15 months in jail.”

Mack’s family believed Cayman authorities were making an example of her and hoped the U.S. government would intervene. Eventually, the sentence was reduced to two months, with the couple spending Christmas and New Year’s behind bars.

“It’s kinda hard to fall asleep when you know that someone you love so much [isn’t] sleeping and they’re uncomfortable,” her grandmother, Jeanne Mack, told ABC News. “I know that she’s a tough girl but she had to be scared.”

The teen says she has learned her lesson and now understands the implication of her decision against the gravity of the ongoing pandemic, which has killed nearly 2 million people worldwide.

“I would have never been able to live with myself knowing that I could have been the reason that somebody could have even just been sick,” she said. “I don’t expect anybody to ever forgive me, but I would like for them to at least let me be able to show them that I did learn from it.”

It sounds like Mack has learned her lesson. Do you think the punishment was too severe, or should she have served more time? Give us your take in the comments!