JAMAICA Labour Party (JLP) leadership aspirant Audley Shaw said while he has agreed for the party's annual conference to be brought forward to November 3, he is not in favour of it being held any earlier.
Shaw, a deputy leader of the 70-year-old JLP, officially announced his candidacy for leadership just over a week ago and plans on launching his campaign on September 29.
The contest will put him up against Andrew Holness.
Addressing reporters and editors at this week's Jamaica Observer Monday Exchange, held at the newspaper's head office in Kingston, Shaw said he does not understand why there is an unholy rush to further bring forward the date.
According to Shaw, the JLP's general secretary reported at Sunday's meeting of the party's Central Executive that the date was being brought forward to November 3 from the original November 10.
"I have no problems with that, but I think any attempts to bring it forward any more than that is going to create difficulties," Shaw said.
According to Shaw, there was a further attempt at Sunday's meeting to move up the date even earlier, but the deputy leader said he will have none of that.
"I am leaving here to go to a meeting for further discussion because I am not in favour of any further truncation of the time," he insisted.
Shaw said the official reason being given for the original date being moved forward is to prevent animosity from growing within the party because of his leadership challenge.
However, he said he remains committed to ensuring that there is no animosity or disrespect from his camp.
He said that unfortunately, when he started his series of consultations with delegates and other individuals as to whether he should contest the leadership, "there was a period of some negative comments being made on platforms, and I had to exercise the leadership, since it was not being exercised anywhere else, because some of those utterances were being made in the presence of the leader of the party," he noted.
"I am the one who had to go and say 'just cool it, guys', we are one party here, and let's not give lip service to democracy. It is in our constitution, so let's live with it, grow with it, and mature with it, and things have cooled down a bit somewhat since that," he said.
Last Saturday, a JLP insider told the Observer that the proposal to bring forward the conference is an attempt to stem growing support for Shaw's candidacy.
"Shaw is gaining more support as he moves across the country, and they are trying to lock it off," the insider said.