Appeal court supports jail for COVID breachers

| 14/01/2021 | 38 Comments
Cayman News Service
Vanjae Ramgeet

(CNS): The Cayman Islands Court of Appeal has backed the need to send isolation breachers to jail and stressed that it should “now be clear” to all that breaking COVID-19 regulations here will land you in prison. In written reasons on why the higher court reduced the four month prison sentence handed down by the Grand Court to Skylar Mack and Vanjae Ramgeet after the crown appealed a Summary Court community service order, the higher court judges said they largely agreed with the Grand Court judge.

The only reason why the appeal court cut the jail time to two months was because the Mack and Ramgeet case was the first under the amended legislation, and with no sentencing guidelines available at the time, it was reasonable to accept that they may not have fully appreciated the potential outcome of prison time.

But now, with this new ruling, the appeal court said that in future the consequences of breaching the COVID regulations should be clear.

The appellant judges stated that there was no doubt that such breaches require immediate imprisonment, given the efforts that Cayman has made to create a safe bubble from this virus. The judges said the islands now were “imperiled” only by those who can bring the virus from outside. Any breach of quarantine, they said, is “extremely serious”, and the judges agreed that the imposition of jail time for such offenses was an important part of deterring others.

The panel said that in this case it was a deliberate, planned and sustained breach. While the judge in the Grand Court may have overlooked some submissions he should have considered and given undue consideration to public concerns rather than just public confidence, in the end the sentence was appropriate.

The appeal court judges stressed that they had opted to reduce the time for one reason alone, which was the specific circumstances of this case. But they warned that in future it should be clear that breaching the COVID-19 isolation protocols will result in an immediate jail term.

The judges also directed government officials to ensure that documentation given to those entering the country and into quarantine is updated and contains the full details of the potential penalties for those convicted of breaking the law.

Mack and Ramgeet both appeared via Zoom for the delivery of the judgment from HMP Fairbanks and Northward on the eve of their release. Prison officials confirmed last week that the couple would be discharged subject to compliance with specific licence 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 authorities stated.

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Comments (38)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The country has done a great job of keeping covid at bay, it’s beyond commendable. BUT, by taking a disparate approach to how we treat isolation breaches, we call our collective integrity into question. The case of the young Caymanian man who breached isolation and reportedly went to the gym and Cotton Club, while reportedly being COVID POSITIVE must be dealt with either through the judicial system or through a public statement as to why it’s not being dealt with through the judicial system, perhaps it was all a misunderstanding. The silence around this particular case, given it’s proximity in time to the Mack-Ramjeet case, is deafening.

    • Cayman biting Ants says:

      Here is another commendable attribute of this RInky Dink government mafia and their decisions during this pandemic which I have to admit have been great but it’s has also been greatly opportunistic and self serving but we clearly see that they still hold on to their convenience options of Different strokes for different folks ain’t that right Mac?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, I’m getting increasingly annoyed that there is no prosecution for this repeated breach by the son of a senior government staff members. It seems if you know the right people you can get away with anything here. Absolutely disgusting. Perhaps our most dangerous breach and nothing has been done. I despair for our future in Cayman when there is such blatant corruption and dishonesty.

  2. Cayman mobile reserve says:

    We need to find and charge the current illegal breachers who are now onshore and running around on this island Alden needs to get off his ass and protect our borders ! Skylar Mack situation or drama is no longer a threat or a problem .

  3. Anonymous says:

    CNS – any chance of a link to the Court of Appeals written decision?

    CNS: I’ll post it in the CNS Library with a link at the bottom of the article if we have it or can get it. Check back in a bit.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Shame on the government for not disciplining the others for breaking isolation rules. Think it is time that we have another Deputy Governor.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As a law abiding Caymanian, and once a young man who made mistakes, I wish Skylar well, and hope she will return to Cayman under happier circumstances.

  6. Rastaman says:

    I’m still not sure which pandemic you’re talking about?

  7. Anonymous says:

    Ppl are so blind they cant see the forrest for the trees they did there time hopefully learned a lesson but what about the others that has gone quiet because these two were made examples of if you make laws apply it equally but wait we are in the cayman islands its not what you know its who u know

  8. Anonymous says:

    What about the government worker’s son, twice broke quarantine???? how come no charges on him?????

    • Anonymous says:

      What about the ruthless homophobic woman beating politician?

      • Anonymous says:

        McKeeva’s topic is dead long time. Move on and hush ya mouth na!

        • Anonymous says:

          Sorry dude, I don’t understand that trash language of yours. It’s sounds angry. Did you miss out on the microwave giveaway? Haha

        • Anonymous says:

          12:46 – It’s clear that your laziness extends to where you can’t simply type complete words. You definitely fit the profile of the woman beater’s support base.

  9. Anonymous says:

    What about the son of the Government official? That gone quiet surprise surprise.

  10. Grandma owes Cayman an apology says:

    What do you know? Skylar lives. She didn’t starve to death. She wasn’t beaten up in prison. Hey grandma, perhaps you can write a nice big apology to the Cayman Islands Government and her people for orchestrating your propaganda campaign that was full of half truths. Perhaps since you love your granddaughter so much, you will not allow her to travel overseas by herself in the midst of a pandemic. That goes for mommy and daddy too.

    • Anonymous says:

      “The human race is a lousy invention”. Mark Twain.

      Nothing is human about human race. Animals are kinder to each other and only kill when hungry.

      People who post comments like 4:45 make me ashamed to belong to the “human” race.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ok then when you die hopefully you’ll come back as a roach.

      • Anonymous says:

        There are many feral / roaming cats on the street where I live and they are killing lots of native birds and anole lizards – not because they are hungry, but because their irresponsible owners allow them outside. You can hardly see a Mockingbird or Bananquit anymore. I really think it is so selfish and inconsiderate.
        Also these cats are much more likely to get run over by a car, get fleas and ticks, get lost or stolen, or get a disease if they are roaming the streets. I really wish more cat owners would do the right thing and just keep their animals inside so they don’t kill our birds, grass snakes and beautiful lizards – they rarely eat the birds they catch. It is sad.

      • Anonymous says:

        You’ve obviously never watched a cat kill solely for entertainment.

        • Anonymous says:

          Just this morning, I witnessed an orange cat playing catch and release with a native anole lizard it had injured. Apparently an organisation called Feline Friends is catching feral or roaming cats and then releasing them on our road. It maybe a convenient location but we already have plenty of cats on our street killing our endemic birds and reptiles. Please don’t release any more cats in the Prospect area. We have enough!

    • Anonymous says:

      And goodbye Trump and his son for his ‘support’ message!

    • Anonymous says:

      Please do not encourage her. I am perfectly happy never to see or hear that tacky hypocrite granny of hers again!

  11. Anonymous says:

    Glad to hear they will have served half of their time, but I still disagree with the statement that “neither have received any special dispensation”. Their actual prison sentence was less than one sixth of the guidance (having served a twelfth), and of the KYD$10,000 max, no fee penalty was applied, other than regular subsidized housing costs that would have been borne by anyone. Additionally, no investigation or charges were triggered for any of the many people that reviewed and approved a two week tourist visa for Skylar to come in via Travel Time. Those people should be fired and/or in jail themselves.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Wow, after tomorrow the whole Skylar thing will be done and she’ll be home in Georgia. Time sure flies.

    • Anonymous says:

      Nobody at Travel Time has been prosecuted. How did a two week itinerary get approved at all?!? Who’s names signed-off on this? I’m sure there are hoping nobody will ask, as usual.

  13. Anonymous says:

    And what about the other breachers?

  14. Anonymous says:

    She should be bright enough to know that she isn’t welcome back, but just in case I’m putting it out there.

    • Anonymous says:

      Actually I think she has repaid her debt in accordance with the law, and has learned her lesson. I think she should be welcomed back, and know that we will enforce our laws, if they are ever breached.

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