The Senate approved this week a bill that authorizes the opening of an international tender process for the casino operation of Carrasco Hotel Casino. The debate was intense and the opposition remarked that it is a “historical contradition” from the left wing, which now boosts privatizations, something that was against their own ideas.
Besides, legislator Jorge Gandini, from Partido Blanco, said he was afraid that this tender is “customized, as part of a series of irregularities in local casinos”. Senator from Asamblea Uruguay, Carlos Baráibar, pointed that the council would investigate the background of the candidates and said that the idea is to put a casino in the style of Mediterranean gambling rooms.
In the debate, in which the opposition critisized the government, the Minister of Transport, Víctor Rossi, was accused of “lobbist from an investment group”. Official senators were also booed by the trade union of casino employees which were present at the session.
The debate started after 3PM. Carlos Baraibar, senator from the official party who was in charge of communicating the project, said the initiative aims that the Central Bank and the government are authorized to control the situation, on top of the regular controls made from Montevideo Council.
The opposition critisized the previous tender process held in the local council with Carmitel company (which never concluded the construction of the hotel), as well as the negative balance of the casino administration. On this issue, Baráibar said that the company was not loyal when negociating with IM.
After the speech of senator of Asamblea Uruguay, several legislators from the opposition talked. Senator from Partido Colorado Isaac Alfie critisized the “double speech” of the government because they were historically against privatizations and now promotes Hotel Casino Carrasco. “I hope Uruguay will not be transformed into Las Vegas”, expressed.
Senator Sergio Abreu also remarked this and said that it is a “privatization” and a very important issue for the country. “The gaming policy is an absolutly sensitive issue for the country.”
Then, legislator of Alianza Nacional Jorge Gandini, instead of senator Eber Da Rosa, made a comprehensive review of all the situation that led to this point in which they have to call for a new tender. He talked about the “lack of transparency” of the government on the matter and said that this tender “was made specially for the bidders”.
Gandini accused the Minister of Transport and Public Works, Víctor Rossi, “not to respect his investiture” and said he was “lobbist of an investment group”, establishing previously the linking between the announced investors for Puntas del Chileno project and some Carmitel members. Legislator said that, in Hotel Carrasco affair, the council “loses”, because it receives a million dollars and pays USD 3,500,000.
After that and without a response from the governing party, Frente Amplio, which did not answer the accusations made by the opposition, senator Rafael Michelini demanded to postpone the treatment of this project and approved the National Health System, which was on the Schedule of the day.
This motion was affirmative, with votes from the official party, and this is the reason why 60 officials from local casinos – which were present at the debate- started to talk against the official senators and started treating them as “corrupts” and “traitors”. After that, they were removed from the place.