Tregenza A. Roach, Esq. has been elected to a third term in the Legislature of the United States Virgin Islands. As the only Independent Senator in the St. Thomas/St. John District for both his preceding terms, he has been a staunch advocate for education, the environment, and the youth and elderly of the Territory. He has likewise strongly defended the role of the Legislature and its importance in maintaining the checks and balances needed between the branches of our Government.
Having been elected first in 2012, Senator Roach served the 31st and 30th legislatures on various standing committees. In addition to these assignments, he was nominated to the Education and the Law, Criminal Justice and Public Safety committees of the National Conference of State Legislatures and was instrumental in getting this influential national body to adopt a 2014 resolution supporting full citizenship rights for those living in the United States Virgin Islands. In 2016, he presented a similar resolution to the body, which action resulted in a full NCSL conference session devoted to the affairs of the remaining US territories.
A native of St. Kitts, Senator Roach migrated to the Virgin Islands at the age of 8 to join his parents, Victor and Iona Roach, who had made St. Thomas their home years earlier. Though he boasts that he is a proud product of the public schools of the Virgin Islands, Senator Roach also credits the St. Thomas Seventh-day Adventist School for providing him a sound educational foundation in the tender years.
Senator Roach is a proud graduate of the Charlotte Amalie High School. He attended the then College of the Virgin Islands as a recipient of the Holstein-Lewis scholarship, before transferring to the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he earned a Bachelor of Journalism in 1981. In his journalism career, Roach reported for the Virgin Islands Daily News, covering various areas, before assuming the News Editor position in the proud tradition of Virgin Islanders J. Antonio Jarvis and Ariel Melchior, Sr.
When he left the paper, Senator Roach subsequently enrolled at the University of Connecticut School of Law, where he obtained his juris doctorate degree in1989. He has been a member of the Virgin Islands Bar since his admission in 1991.
While attending law school, he gained valuable legal experience, clerking first in the Office of the Governor's Legal Counsel, then the office of the United States Attorney, and finally at the Territorial Court of the Virgin Islands. After earning his law degree, he worked in the Territorial Court's Civil and Family divisions and then in private practice as an Associate Attorney at Bornn Bornn Handy and Rashid.
Senator Roach then began his public service with his employment at the Department of Education as Legal Counsel to the Commissioner, a positon he held for more than eight years.
Ending his tenure with the Department of Education, Senator Roach was selected as Executive Director of the Virgin Islands Board of Education, a position which afforded him the opportunity to provide managerial leadership for the Board, which is the chief policymaker for the Virgin Islands Department of Education.
Upon leaving the Board in 2006, Senator Roach was selected by the University of the Virgin Islands to lead a program of public education in support of the Virgin Islands Fifth Constitutional Convention. In this award winning consultancy, he served as the Coordinator/Researcher of Constitution 2008, a public education project with marketing, legal, historical, publications, and media components. The website created under his leadership was selected by the Library of Congress for inclusion in his materials for Election 2008.
In connection with his role, Senator Roach represented the University at United Nations Decolonization Seminars in St. Georges, Grenada, (2007), and in Bandung, Indonesia (2008). Although the University's project ended in 2008, the United Nations qualified Roach as an expert on the subject of constitutional development processes in the U.S. Territories and invited him on his own merits to a third Decolonization Seminar in Basseterre, St. Kitts in 2009.
Senator Roach served on the adjunct faculty of the University of the Virgin Islands from 1999 to 2012, teaching courses in the Humanities and a Constitutional Law course in the graduate program in Education. He completed other contractual projects with the University, to include the Legacy Report of President Emeritus LaVerne E. Ragster Ph.D., a major environmental project with the United States Environmental Protection Agency, the launch of the University's Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism, and as Editor in Chief of The Caribbean Writer, the University's award winning international literary journal.
Senator Roach is a poet and author and has published in Liberia Seabreeze Journal, Calabash Journal of New York University, POUT, the journal of the University of the West Indies, Tongues of the Ocean, Yellow Cedars Blooming: An Anthology of Virgin Islands Poetry, Seasoning for the Mortar and several volumes of The Caribbean Writer. He recently published his first book for children, The Lesson Box, which joins his other publications, The Blessing of Rain and Other Poems, and All This Is Love: A Collection of Virgin Islands Poetry, Art and Prose. He was awarded the Margaret Walker Fiction Prize by the Detroit Writers Guild in 1999, the Marguerite Cobb McKay Prize for publication of work in the 20th Edition of The Caribbean Writer, and the St. Thomas/ St. John Library Association's Distinguished Caribbean Author Award in 2009. In 2013 the Trinidad Guardian selected his children's book, The Lesson Box, as one of the best books for children.