‘It was a selfish decision’ | Ga. teen jailed in Cayman Islands speaks out

Skylar Mack spoke with ‘Good Morning America’ about being jailed for violating COVID-19 restrictions on vacation

Skylar Mack, a Mercer University student and Georgia native, was recently released from her monthlong Cayman Island prison sentence for breaking quarantine rules there. On Monday with “Good Morning America,” she reflected on what she considers a “selfish decision” that landed her in prison.

The 18-year-old has made international headlines during the last few months due to the controversial decision by the country to dole out prison sentences to her and her boyfriend Vanjae Ramgeet for knowingly gathering in groups and breaking other quarantine restrictions set by the government. Mack, who was on the picturesque island to support Ramgeet at a sports event, removed a monitoring device from her wrist at one point as a means to avoid following the quarantine rules, according to several reports.

ExploreGeorgia teen returns home after Cayman Islands prison release

Spending more than a month in prison gave the teenager clarity on her actions that led to the sentencing. Several people have debated the issue of whether Mack should have been punished for her mistakes, but she told GMA she recognizes her missteps and learned from the experience.

“It eats me up,” Mack told GMA.

“It was a selfish decision. There’s no reason that I can 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.”

The pre-med student had been traumatized by the prospect of a four-month sentence in prison. Both she and Ramgeet, 24, were forced to quarantine 14 days before their sentences began. Both were granted shorter sentences after appeals were made to officials in the Cayman Islands.

In December, Mack’s grandmother, Jeanne Mack, told Augusta news station WRDW that her punishment was too harsh.

“She’s very sad, very remorseful. She can’t believe she did something like this, and she’s also feeling like she’s been made an example of,” Jeanne Mack said.

Mack sent a letter to President Donald Trump to assist with shortening her granddaughter’s sentence, according to several reports. The Office of Presidential Correspondence responded to her, according to Fox News. The agency thanked her for “taking the time to write and share your story with President Donald J. Trump” and that “White House staff reviewed your correspondence and forwarded it to the appropriate Federal agency for further action.”

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Mack traveled to the Caribbean hot spot on Nov. 27 and was advised to quarantine for 14 days upon her arrival. According to an affidavit, the Loganville native, after just two days and a negative COVID-19 test, removed her wrist monitor, left quarantine and began socializing with Ramgeet, who was competing in a jet ski race, and other locals. She told ABC News she thought her negative test meant she was OK.

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

Mack told ABC News her experience should serve as a reminder that the coronavirus pandemic isn’t over along with the need to take quarantine measures seriously.

“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. “The action itself was serious, but like how much worse it could have been.”

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