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Dec 8, 2009

Casino boss’ first interview since release from Mexican prison

Story PictureGeorge Hardie Junior of Las Vegas Casino is back in Belize and in his first interview since his release on Saturday night, he told News Five that he is leaving no stones unturned to secure the release of two employees that remain in jail. Hardie, along with David Abner Gomez, was finally freed after spending a year and four months behind bars and an additional four days in Immigration custody in Mexico. On December first, they successfully appealed an attempted murder conviction for which they were sentenced to ten years in prison. And just days after their return to the country, Hardie and Gomez were back at work at the Las Vegas Casino at the northern border, where a shootout that landed them in jail occurred. Hardie spoke to News Five via phone today and while he was glad to be home, his priority is to help Martin Miller and Curlin Thompson, who were detained along with them, to be released.

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr., Released from Mexican Prison
“It feels great but it would feel much better if we could get the other two guys out. I’m not gonna celebrate or have any parties until we get the other two guys out.”

Delahnie Bain
“What is it that made it take so long for them to release you after the appeal was won?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.
“After the appeal was won? Well, we had to go to an Immigration jail because David and I are not Belizeans. So we had to go there for like five days; that’s required by Mexican law.”

Delahnie Bain
“What was the—I mean being in Mexican prison for over a year, what was that experience like for you?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.
“Actually that prison, it’s not that bad. It’s not a maximum type security prison where you’re locked down. There’s a lot of things to do; you can play basketball, soccer, they have a good gym, you can be out of your cell most of the day so it wasn’t that bad.”

Delahnie Bain
“When were you officially released to Belize?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.
“Saturday night around midnight.”

Delahnie Bain
“And the other two guys, what are their plans now?”

Via Phone: George Hardie Jr.
“Well, they have a chance to appeal. Even though they didn’t appeal this time, they can appeal to a three judge panel called an Amparo. That takes about four to six months. The same defense that released me, they’re going to use that defense to the Amparo and I think they’ll be very successful with that. Or, if that doesn’t work, then they can go to a transfer to Belize, hopefully some time next year where they would be released because they didn’t do anything wrong.”


Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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