GEORGIA SENATORS BAT FOR MACK
The delicately-balanced, critical run-off elections in the US state of Georgia next Tuesday January 5th hold a unique significance for Cayman.
The two senators who are defending their seats in the crucial vote which could tip the balance in the US Senate from Republican to Democrat have weighed-in on the Skylar Mack issue.
Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue have written to the US ambassador in Jamaica, Donald R. Tapia, asking him to intervene in the matter in which American teenager Skylar Mack is serving jail time for breaching Cayman’s COVID-19 quarantine regulations.
The US Embassy in Jamaica has two Consular Offices; one in George Town, Grand Cayman and the other in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Mack who was in standard 14-days quarantine after arriving in Cayman on November 27th had evaded the authorities to mingle with the public at a jet-ski race event in which her Caymanian boyfriend Oscar Ramgeet was a competitor.
She, along with Ramgeet who was charged with ‘aiding and abetting' in the offence were sentenced earlier this month to two months in prison after two appeals.
The first conviction which resulted in an order for both to pay a fine of CI$2,600 each plus 40 hours community service, was successfully appealed by the Director of Public Prosecutions Patrick Moran on the grounds that it was "unduly lenient".
That had led to the sentence being increased to four months in prison, but on a further appeal, her attorney Jonathon Hughes, successfully argued that the four-month term was too harsh.
The sentence was subsequently cut by half to the current two months sentence.
In their joint letter sent to the US Ambassador in Jamaica, Republican Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue who are battling for their seats - and to maintain Republican control of the Senate - are seeking “further leniency” for their constituent.
The letter dated, December 25th is also being reported in much of the press in Georgia and US national news outlets.
It states in part: “Ms. Mack has admitted guilt, regrets her actions, paid a substantial fine, and been incarcerated for over a week. However, it is the sincere hope of her parents that she can safely and expeditiously return home to continue her studies as a pre-med student at Mercer University.”
It also says: “Her family has also expressed serious concern about her safety, as she has received numerous threats against her life following the publicity of her case.”
No evidence of such threats is outlined in the letter.
The letter ends by calling on the US Ambassador to “convey to the Governor (HE Governor Martyn Roper) our support for her family’s call for leniency.”
It could not be confirmed if, to date, there has been a response from either the US Ambassador’s office in Jamaica or the Governor’s office in Cayman.
On its website, the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the US State Department advises American citizens who run afoul of the law while they are abroad that it; “cannot get U.S. citizens out of jail, state to a court that anyone is guilty or innocent, provide legal advice or represent U.S. citizens in court, serve as official interpreters or translators (or) pay legal, medical, or other fees.”
To date, there has not been any confirmed intervention in the Skylar Mack issue by the two Democrats challengers in the closely-contested Georgia senate race, Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.
The Skylar Mack case in Cayman has gained considerable international media attention led mainly by a publicity campaign orchestrated by her grandmother in Georgia, Jeanne Mack, who had also written to outgoing US President Donald Trump seeking his intervention.
Mr Trump has not personally got involved although one of his sons, Eric Trump, has given his support to her efforts.