Audley Shaw has warned that he will not accept any blame under the principle of collective responsibility for the perceived failings of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) since Andrew Holness assumed the reins of leadership two years ago.
Shaw argued that while he endorsed the concept of collective responsibility in principle, he could not be held accountable for any of the failings of the party during a period in which he claimed he was locked out of the decision-making process.
As an example, he said he has never set eyes on the report of the strategic review, commissioned by the JLP leadership in the aftermath of the electoral defeats in 2011 and 2012, although it has been in Holness' possession since January of this year.
"I can't accept collective responsibility for [the] covering up of a report," said Shaw. "I am sorry, I can't accept that … . I think that is an outstanding issue, and I would suggest to the leader of the party that he should deal with it immediately."
Added Shaw: "The findings of that report contained recommendations on the way forward," he said. "Even internally, as a senior member of the party, here is a report that is ready from January and now is September and I have not been handed the report and asked for my opinion."
Said Shaw: "Even if it wasn't made public initially, you are going to tell me that as a senior deputy leader, and even the officers of the party should not have been given that report and let them have a look at the recommendations at what are the things that must be done in a diligent way to begin the arduous task of rebuilding the party?"
Shaw said he was reliably informed that Holness had made a public announcement saying he would release the report.
"My advice to him is to release the report sooner than later so that it does not become the most significant issue in the leadership going forward, because the campaign must be about how we are going to rebuild the party."
Shaw complained that no meeting had been held with the 42 losing candidates in the general election or the 175 in the local government elections.
"We have not had a meeting with them to say, 'Let's have a post-mortem'," he complained. "We have not had a single meeting with them to determine why we lost and what we can do better."
Shaw said he had always held the view that all at the leadership level must accept collective responsibility for everything, including the losses in the last election.
"We have to accept collective responsibility and we also have to accept collective responsibility, for our failure thus far to diligently start the rebuilding process," he stressed.
"If you have important elements in the analytical or post-mortem phase, why keep them hidden? Isn't that a part of the process that would be helpful in the rebuilding process?" he declared.
Shaw said the general feeling emerging out of the consultations he has undertaken over the past three weeks was that supporters felt neglected and de-motivated.
"There is a lot of rebuilding that has to be done," he said.