Gary Spaulding, Senior Gleaner Writer
Leader of the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) Andrew Holness yesterday characterised as "insincere and opportunistic" claims by Audley Shaw that he was not up to speed on the decision-making process in the organisation.
"Any criticism of the Jamaica Labour Party is a criticism of himself," said Holness, in response to claims that his challenger was kept out of the loop and refused to share any blame under the principle of collective responsibility.
Reacting to Shaw's announcement that a leadership challenge was coming his way, Holness stressed that there was no retreating, no surrender at this critical juncture.
"We cannot turn back. The party must move forward and the constant theme in my presentation is forward together," Holness said.
mystified by claims
Holness told The Gleaner that he was mystified by Shaw's claims as he was at one with the JLP leadership's decision to handle the negotiations between the International Monetary Fund (IMF) with maturity and responsibility.
"The party took a decision, having been in Government, to be a responsible Opposition in how he dealt with the IMF negotiations," Holness said.
"We were there and we were well aware of the sensitive nature of the negotiations, so we opted in the interest of the country not to make insensitive and irresponsible utterances to derail the programme," Holness told The Gleaner yesterday.
"So any claims to the contrary should be dismissed as insincere and opportunistic," he added.
Holness said when Shaw, in his capacity of opposition spokesman on finance, agreed to the wage freeze that was proposed by the Government for public-sector workers, he did not consult with the leadership of the JLP, but it was understood that there was need not to create panic.
"Having been the minister of finance himself, he would have been well aware of the sensitivities of the negotiations," emphasised Holness.
Holness stressed that Shaw was part and parcel of the decision-making process both in and out of Government and, as deputy leader, he shared responsibility for Area Council Three that includes Manchester, Clarendon, and St Ann.