|Dr. the Hon. Clarence R. 'Tessi' Terceira
Former Cabinet Minister, Bermuda
Dr. the Hon. Clarence R. ‘Tessi’ Terceira was a Bermudian politician, former Cabinet Minister, and a founder of the United Bermuda Party
Early life and education
Clarence R. Terceira, the grandson of immigrants from the Azores, was born in 1927 to a Somerset farming family, who encouraged his academic ambitions. He later studied at Mount Allison University in Canada, qualified as a dentist at the University of Dundee in Scotland and practised here for several decades.
He challenged Bermuda’s apartheid-style society when he returned from Scotland and joined forces with leading political figures such as Roosevelt Brown and John Stubbs to reform Bermuda’s political and social structure.
Clarence Terceira was a founder member of the United Bermuda Party (UBP) in 1963, becoming the party’s first treasurer in 1965. He served twice party chairman.
Terceira represented the (UBP) in Pembroke West in the House of Assembly from 1984 until 1997. He served stints as education minister and health minister, as well as at works and engineering. As public works minister, he is credited with steering 22 major construction projects to completion, most controversially the revamping of the approach to Hamilton, dubbed “Tessi’s Highway”, from Crow Lane and East Broadway.
He was a driving force in the “People’s Five”, a rebel group of UBP MPs who opposed Sir John Swan’s decision to hold a referendum on independence in 1995, the result of which showed overwhelming support for the status quo.
After Sir John’s resignation, the People’s Five, clashed with him over his bid with UBP parliamentarian Maxwell Burgess to bring a McDonald’s burger franchise to Bermuda.
He was married to second wife Joan Terceira. His first wife died in 1990 and he had a grandson, who died in 2005. He was the father of sons Paul Terceira and Timothy Terceira, daughters Joy Pimental and Lesley Terceira, and stepdaughter Karon Wright, as well as five granddaughters, two grandsons and two great-grandchildren.
Terceira died at him home on 11 December 2018. He was 91. A service celebrating his life was held at the Anglican Cathedral of the Most Holy Trinity on Tuesday, 18 December 2018 followed by interment at Emmanuel Methodist Church, Southampton.