WARREN Newby, campaign co-ordinator of the Audley Shaw for Leader team, has said the party will have a problem on its hands in the aftermath of the current leadership challenge to heal rifts because of actions by "powerful members of the Andrew Holness camp".
Newby, a former senator and parliamentary secretary with responsibility for youth in the Ministry of Information, Culture, Youth and Sports when the JLP formed the government in 2007, charged that the camp had removed a number of legitimate workers and delegates from the voters' list .
He was speaking Sunday at the Youth for Shaw Conference held at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, involving past and other current G2K executives and members from across the island.
"We can't, to date, tell you with certainty that we will accept the voters' list being produced by the secretariat of the party. Even now there is a meeting going on at Belmont Road going over a process we thought was completed three weeks ago. We cannot even determine who are the legitimate delegates of the Jamaica Labour Party and they want to make you believe that they were organising," Newby said to applause.
"This process has disenfranchised so many legitimate workers and delegates of the Jamaica Labour Party. We will have a challenge before us to heal the party because of how many persons have been taken off the list by powerful members of the Holness camp because it is believed they are supporters of Audley Shaw," he said further.
Newby also questioned the silence of Holness over recent developments which have seen "several councillors being ostracised by members of Parliament because of their assertion of their right protected by the constitution (to decide on their leader of choice)".
"There is not even one word of condemnation that has come from Andrew Holness on those matters," he said, claiming that Holness had failed to berate members of his team for castigating, in unflattering terms, JLP members not in his camp.
"There is nothing transformational about him. I don't know where this energy has come from in Mr Holness all of a sudden, because prior to the challenge what he was practising was a politics of silence," Newby declared.
At the same time, he defended the style of campaigning of Shaw.
"They attack Mr Shaw constantly about 'ray ray', seeking to put a negative spin to the way in which he campaigns. Before now it was OK. Ray Ray is advocacy. Paul Bogle was ray ray in his time, Marcus Garvey was ray ray in his time, Bustamante was ray ray in his time. So gi wi dat 'cause a dat Labourites know and love, gi wi dat," he said to cheers.
"The message of our party needs a messenger. Altogether, in one accord, we are going to make Audley Shaw leader of the Jamaica Labour Party," he added.
In the meantime, Newby raised questions about the method by which the current party leader took the helm following the resignation of former leader Bruce Golding, who led the party to victory in 2007 after it spent over 18 years in the political wilderness.
"Two years ago, we had to choose a leader, the leader we have now arrived out of consensus, consensus of big men and women in a room. I believe that there is something fundamentally flawed with such a process. It is not right that any big man, any power group to sit in a room and decide who leads a political party and who should emerge as prime minister of our country," Newby charged.
"That right belongs to you as the delegates of the party, that right we must protect with all our lives," he told the faithful.
"Since that time we have lost two elections, one for local government and one for central government. The claim by the current leadership is that they have used the period to organise. Now, where is the evidence of this? The facts are glaringly opposite to that claim," he said.
Some two weeks ago the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ) reportedly began processing the JLP's delegates' list for the November 10 leadership election at the party's annual conference at the National Arena. In that process the Office verifies the names and photographs of the 5,600 delegates from the party's 63 constituency organisations who will choose between Holness and Shaw.
Early in the game Shaw challenged the fidelity of the list.