The grandmother of a Georgia college freshman jailed by authorities in the Cayman Islands for allegedly failing to follow COVID-19 guidelines is seeking intervention in the case from the White House.
In an interview with Fox News, Jeanne Mack said she has written a letter to President Donald Trump seeking the government’s help in the case.
Her remarks come ahead of an appeals court hearing on Tuesday for Mercer University student Skylar Mack, 18, and her boyfriend, Vanjae Ramgeet, 24, a Caymans-based competitive jet skier. Both have received four-month jail sentences, the outlet reported.
“She’s terrified. She called me last night, she couldn’t sleep,” Jeanne Mack told the network when she was asked about the upcoming hearing.
“She knows she did wrong,” the grandmother said, going on to describe Skyler as “a total lapse of judgment of an otherwise brilliant young lady.”
An email shared with Fox News by Jeanne Mack from the Office of Presidential Correspondence thanked her for “taking the time to write and share your story with President Donald J. Trump,” adding that the “White House staff reviewed your correspondence and forwarded it to the appropriate Federal agency for further action.”
It’s not clear from the Fox News report which federal agency received the referral or what actions are being taken if any.
Authorities in the Cayman Islands say that Skylar Mack violated quarantine requirements two days after arriving in the British Caribbean territory late last month.
After requesting government officials loosen her wrist monitor after telling them it was too tight, the teen slipped out of it to steal away and watch Ramgeet compete in a nearby ski competition for several hours. Per the island’s coronavirus regulations, she was required to self-isolate for 14 days.
When police arrived on the scene, Skylar Mack was seen not wearing a mask and not social distancing.
She and her boyfriend were immediately jailed after a court handed down their sentences a week ago. The judge issued the four-month sentence after striking down an earlier sentence of 40 hours of community service and a $2,600 fine apiece, the Cayman News Service reported.
“This was as flagrant a breach as could be imagined,” Grand Court Judge Roger Chapple said, the Cayman Compass added. “It was borne of selfishness and arrogance.”
On Friday, Jeanne Mack told Fox News that Skylar Mack was the first person who has been jailed for violating COVID mandates. She also said her granddaughter was practicing social distancing and even told people who approached to keep their distance.
“They needed to make a statement” and did so with her granddaughter, Jeanne Mack said. “Their governing is accusing her of causing major anxiety of everybody that was on the island but it’s because they’re not telling them that she was negative – she does not have the virus, she never has had the virus.”
She said Skylar Mack has tested negative each of the half-dozen times she’s undergone the exam. She added on Monday that her boyfriend has also tested negative.
In a statement, Skylar Mack apologized and admitted that she had made a “mistake.”
“I was afforded the opportunity to enter the islands during these trying times and I abused it,” she said. “I am humbly asking for the forgiveness of the community.”
Jeanne Mack said that normally, her granddaughter would be headed back to the U.S. on Tuesday.
“We don’t want her left on the island. We want her home,” she said.
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