[Cover] Photo: Edward Registe on the campaign trail (2019) (Facebook) Updated 11:23 pm September 2, 2022
As some of you may know, the Grand Bayrian, Edward Registe; that youthful, cultural activist, social worker, politician and former Deputy Speaker in Dominica’s House of Assembly, was well known to me.
Although he wasn’t a personal friend of mine, I remember interacting with him during my stint with The Chronicle as we met at the many media scrums to collect the news. At that time he was known for his deep voice on the airways at DBS, and later moved over to work as the public relations voice of the Dominica Water and sewage company, DOWASCO. I also knew of him through his many other works he did in and out of the community of Grand Bay of a wide spectrum activities. Particularly during his debate at the amendment of the drug laws. (Prevention of Misuse) (Amendment) Act 2020. In 2020 the House of Assembly debated the bill. The new legislation allowed for users to possess no more than 28 grammes of Cannabis or resin on their person or in their residence. and legitimate landowners permitted to plant no more than three(3) plants on their holdings and Persons with small marijuana convictions were to have their records expunged 28 grammes or less. Additionally persons under the age of 18 remain prohibited from possession or cultivation of the plant. (See: Dominica Government Liberalises the Herb)
At the sitting of Parliament on 26th October, 2020, the Speaker of the House, Joseph Isaac, recognised the Honourable Registe, from Grand Bay.
With enthusiastic applause from his colleagues in the the background, Registe began his contribution in support of the bill, “Mr. Speaker, this is a very sobering moment…very sobering moment”, adding, ”…this bill which is before the house is certainly timely, historic, and quite welcomed by myself and many who are users of the herb for various reasons Mr. Speaker.” Registe continued his hard-hitting, eloquent speech, replete with academic references to the history of marijuana. To a time when marijuana was not illegal. And to welcome the amendment and pointed out the various benefits decriminalization and erasing of records of persons convicted of small amounts of marijuana.
While he warned young people to not abuse the privileges of the new dispensation in regard to substance abuse, it was his remarks that make me remember his contribution on the debate overall is when he said, “Mr. Speaker, what is one spliff,” he said, “what has one spliff done to deserve this kind of treatment? Terrible, Mr Speaker, we have been making mistakes for along time and so today, today, is the day when a spliff takes its rightful place in our country and books of legislation, Mr. Speaker,” adding, “today the world has woken up to the harsh truth that marijuana was never as harmful as tobacco and alcohol which remained legal.
Registe mentioned that although many thousands of deaths can be related to the consumption of tobacco and alcohol, he said, “I drink alcohol but knowing it can be responsible for death. We all have to die anyway,” he said. “Marijuana consumed in moderate amounts kills no one, and that we have known for many years, Mr. Speaker,”adding that the proposed legislation made for possession of about 28 grammes or an ounce of marijuana, “We are allowed to grow three trees, and allowed to possess 28 grammes or less, one ounce…that’s just about an ounce…yeah…I’m right About 3 joints, 3 – 5 joints, according to how you wrap it (laughter) And you can do so…you can posses it without fear of prosecution.” he said adding,” This I believe is a first step towards greater opportunities. Let us cooperate my dear people, I speak to all our people this is not a carte blanche legalisation of marijuana. This is a first step. Let us cooperate in our endeavour in harnessing the real opportunities that could be derived from marijuana in the future. Thank you Mr. Speaker, I support this motion,” he said.
“In 2014, Edward Registe was appointed a Dominica Labour Party (DLP) Senator and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly of Dominica. He is a former General Secretary of the Dominica Labour Party. Registe successfully contested the Grand Bay seat for the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) in the 2019 General Election. He was appointed Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations, with Specific responsibility for Diaspora Relations in the Roosevelt Skerrit Administration on 17 December 2019.” – Caribbean Elections Biography.
On Thursday November 25, 2021, Dr. Vince Henderson on the Dominica Labour Party (DLP) ticket won the Grand Bay by-elections with a landslide victory with 1211 votes; thrashing the contenders, the independent candidate, Julius Gabriel alias ‘hand bag’ who received 161 votes and Clarenton “Twa Woche” Andrew who received 3 votes. The Bi-election was triggered by the demise of former Parliamentary Representative, Honorable Edward Registe .
Registe fell ill while on the job and succumbed on September 1 at the age of fifty (50) due to cardiac arrest. He was accorded a State Funeral and Burial Service on 20th October, 2021 held at the Grand Bay Catholic Church Grounds. He was interred at the Grand Bay Catholic Cemetery.
The Government of Dominica has since decided that the Grand Bay Primary School will be renamed the Edward Registe Primary School in memory of the late Hon. Edward Registe.
It is a fact of life that many lives will be cut short in their prime. As we are all on borrowed time. My wife and I join join all those who mourn the first year of his transition to join the ancestors. It must be getting very crowded over there. As long as there is a place for us. Because we too want to ride with the ancestors one day.
Sitting of House of Assembly of Dominica – 26th October, 2020, 26 october 2020). Available at: https://www.facebook.com/SupportRooseveltSkerrit/videos/632295994121897/ (Accessed: 2 September 2022).
DOMINICA GOVERNMENT LIBERALISES THE HERB (2020). Available at: https://dreadrastafariandethiopia.wordpress.com/2020/10/29/dominica-government-liberalises-the-herb/ (Accessed: 2 September 2022).
Caribbean Elections Biography | Edward Registe (2022). Available at: http://www.caribbeanelections.com/knowledge/biography/bios/registe_edward.asp (Accessed: 2 September 2022).
Dominica, G. (2022) GRAND BAY PRIMARY TO BE RENAMED IN HONOUR OF THE LATE HON. EDWARD REGISTE – GIS Dominica, News.gov.dm. Available at: http://news.gov.dm/news/5320-grand-bay-primary-to-be-renamed-in-honour-of-the-late-hon-edward-registe (Accessed: 2 September 2022).
Edward Registe-Facebook page (2022). Available at: https://www.facebook.com/EdwardRegiste (Accessed: 2 September 2022).