SC couple says they’re being detained in British Virgin Islands without cause

BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS — A South Carolina couple and their friends hope to have some answers soon -- they’ve been detained in the British Virgin Islands for 11 days.

They said they are being held without cause.

Lynn Hines is one of the four people in custody since Nov. 19. Her partner and two other friends were sailing in Saint Thomas and accidentally went into British Virgin Island’s waters.

Laws there show no American citizens are allowed within the border because COVID-19.

They have had no charges pressed against them, just two fines -- $10,000 each. The group said they have been given the runaround while trying to figure out when they will be released.

“We were told that Customs was not handling the case, that Immigration was handling the case,” Hines said. “Then, it was Immigration’s not handling the case, now the prosecutor’s handling the case.”

They’ve been held in a hotel room that has bugs and the bathroom sink fell off the wall.

They expect to have a hearing Monday to figure out if they will face charges.

“Please make the people aware why you’re doing what you’re doing, especially people like us who really didn’t break any law at least on purpose,” Hines said. “We should at least be able to be heard and tell someone what’s going on.”

The U.S. Embassy in Barbados said they are monitoring the situation. The group also reached out to Senators Lindsey Graham and Tim Scott for help.