Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Approximately 5,600 Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) delegates will be able to vote for a new leader if Audley Shaw decides to challenge Andrew Holness for the top job.
General Secretary of the JLP Dr Horace Chang has confirmed that all 63 constituencies are now registered with the party secretariat.
He said the last of the 24 constituencies which failed to make the May 31, 2013 cut-off date were registered ahead of yesterday's deadline.
"All the dues have been paid up and the registration completed," Chang told The Gleaner yesterday.
This followed a last-minute rush to have constituency committees registered in keeping with a decision by the Standing Committee of the JLP at Monday's meeting.
"This means that the secretariat will now be able to compile the voters' list of approximately 5,600 delegates of the JLP," said Chang. "We will now be moving to clean the list to remove persons who have died and a few others who need to be scratched," he said.
Added Chang: "We should be ready to hand over the list by the latest next weekend to the Electoral Office of Jamaica (EOJ)."
He stressed that once there is a challenge, all the candidates will have access to review the list before it is sent to the EOJ.
"I will now be cleaning the list to allow both parties to go through and agree, so let me stress that both candidates will have access to the list," said Chang. "The party has a structure and we intend to be guided by this structure."
Earlier in the week, Chang dismissed suggestions that the secretariat that he leads was pressured to accommodate Shaw, whose North East Manchester constituency was not registered within the extended May 31, 2013 deadline.
Data released by the secretariat revealed that Shaw is the only MP of the 24 constituencies who is an officer of the JLP and is represented by the party in Parliament who has failed to register within the extended time stipulated. The other 23 constituencies are held by the People's National Party (PNP) representatives.
"No, we would have done it if Mr Shaw was not found to be delinquent," said Chang, in response to queries at a press conference yesterday held at the JLP's Belmont Road headquarters in Kingston.
Chang said this move ensures that registered delegates would not be disenfranchised because they would have been registered with the party and attended the annual conference in that capacity a year ago.