Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
The Gleaner can report that delegates in 25 of the 63 constituencies across the island are in danger of being prevented from voting in any upcoming leadership or deputy leadership elections in the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP), as they are in breach of Rule/Clause 19 of the party's constitution.
On Wednesday, the Legal and Constitutional Committee of the JLP spent much of its meeting, dedicated for this purpose, deliberating over the discrepancies unearthed after it was revealed that the constituency committees, some which are represented by the party in Parliament, have failed to register with the party secretariat.
A member of the committee would only divulge that it has fashioned advice to the powerful Standing Committee of the party, with a package of recommendations to be taken to next Monday's meeting of the Standing Committee.
Repeated attempts to contact JLP General Secretary Dr Horace Chang yielded no success.
The last two meetings of the third-most-powerful organ of the party, behind the annual conference and the Central Executive, have been tumultuous, and there are indications that the upcoming one will be testy, as both sides attempt to reach some sort of compromise in relation to the alleged constitutional breach.
With the number of delegates drawn from each constituency varying from a low of 30 to a high of more than 100, there are indications that up to 2,000 of the more than 5,000 JLP delegates could be affected.
It is understood that some of the top-performing constituencies in the last elections for the JLP, which are led by vocal party stalwarts, have failed to fulfil their constitutional requirements by registering.
VERY DELICATE SITUATION
The existing situation has been described by senior party members as a very delicate legal matter that is challenging the minds of legal luminaries within the party.
Gleaner checks reveal that without compromise, the delegates from the 25 delinquent constituencies would not be eligible to cast their ballots for the candidate of their choice in the event that there is an election at the party's annual conference in November.
A senior party member explained to The Gleaner that the term 'without compromise' means "They would have to agree that the persons who have been disqualified as a result of not being registered within the stipulated time frame would be given an opportunity to vote."