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Tiny British territory in feud with US after arrest of American holidaymakers

They met with Dileeni Daniel-Selvaratnam, a former civil servant and the British-appointed governor of the island, and a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Although the Turks and Caicos Islands are part of the sovereign territory of Great Britain, they have an independent legal system and can pass laws without Westminster approval.

Mr Mullin told The Telegraph he hoped to find “common ground” with the islands over the captured Americans, but was “unable to find a way forward”.

“Right now, well-meaning American citizens are facing 12 years in prison, all because they unknowingly carry a bullet or two in their luggage,” he said.

“The unintended consequences of the (Turks and Caicos) law have come at the expense of well-meaning American tourists, including a grandmother, who had no intention of breaking the law.

“We will continue to have a seat at the table throughout this process until the issue is resolved. With two hearings scheduled this week, I remain hopeful.

“If they receive a prison sentence, we will have to consider additional measures to protect American citizens.”

Arrested man was visiting for a 40th birthday party

One of the men, Ryan Watson, went to the islands with his wife and other couples for a joint 40th anniversary celebration, his sister said on a GoFundMe page she set up to raise money for his legal bills.

When Watson left the area, airport security found four rounds of ammunition in a duffel bag he had previously used on a hunting trip. His case will be heard within a few days.

A second tourist, Sharitta Shanise Grier, was visiting the islands for a Mother’s Day trip with her daughter when she was arrested Thursday.