U.S. Teen Jailed for Breaching Quarantine in Cayman Islands Admits 'I Deserved It'

The American teen who was jailed for breaching quarantine orders while traveling to the Cayman Islands is speaking out for the first time since returning to the U.S.

Skylar Mack, 18, a student from Loganville, Georgia, and her boyfriend Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, a professional jet-ski racer from the Cayman Islands, were released from prison on Jan. 15, the Cayman Islands government confirmed to PEOPLE. The pair served approximately one month of what was originally a four-month sentence, later reduced to two.

Mack was arrested after knowingly violating the islands' mandatory COVID quarantine rules in order to watch Ramgeet compete in a jet ski event.

Speaking to ABC News in an exclusive interview, Mack admitted, "The anger, the disappointment — it's all justified." She added, "I deserved it. I was like, 'You know what? I made this mistake, and it sucks, but you did it to yourself."

She arrived on the island Nov. 27 and was required to undergo a minimum 14-day quarantine-in-residence, per Caymanian COVID suppression guidelines, according to government officials. On Nov. 29, Mack instead left her residence and removed her geo-fencing bracelet, which was tracking her location, in order to go the event, where she was detained at the scene by police who told the Cayman Compass that she was there for seven hours and did not wear a mask or practice social distancing. 

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When asked if she was aware she was actively breaking the law by removing her geo-fencing bracelet to leave isolation that day, Mack said: "I mean, it was a conscious decision of being like, you know what — but I also was just… I don't — I can't give you a good reason for it."

If someone were to have gotten sick from her quarantine breach, Mack said she "definitely" would've "never been able to live with myself." "Knowing that I could have been the reason that somebody could even just been sick eats me up," she said.

"It was a selfish decision," said Mack later in the interview. "There's no reason that I could give you to grant me a second chance. 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."

Both she and Ramgeet — who was charged with aiding and abetting his girlfriend — were placed in a government facility for a 14-day quarantine, which ended on Dec. 15, and pleaded guilty to their offenses.  They were initially sentenced to a $2,600 fine and 40 hours of community service each.

On Dec. 15, the island's Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), Patrick Moran, decided their sentence did not fit the severity of their crimes, and sentenced them instead to four months behind bars. Mack and Ramgeet's attorneys successfully argued for more lenient sentences in the British territory's Court of Appeal on Dec. 22, dropping their sentences down to two months each.

On Jan. 7, the Cayman Islands government released a statement sharing that Mack and Ramgeet would be released from prison early, as the island's Prison Service approved the pair's "applications for pre-discharge leave, under the terms of section 30 (2) of Prisons Law."

"The applications were considered by the office of the Director of Prisons and approved subject to compliance with specific license conditions. Both will be released from Prison on 15 January and Miss Mack will depart Cayman that same day. At that time both will have completed their sentence in accordance with Cayman Law. Neither have received any special dispensation," the press release read. 

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