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(CMC) – Ex-Premier Michael Dunkley has led tributes to Dr Clarence “Tessi” Terceira, one of the founding members of the now defunct United Bermuda Party (UBP), which ran the country for 30 years.
A former cabinet minister, Terceira, who was 91, died at his home on Tuesday, according to his daughter, Joy Pimental. She said he had been ill for some time.
A dentist, Terceira was a founder member of the UBP in 1963, becoming the party’s first treasurer in 1965.
The UBP won the first election in 1968 after party politics was introduced I and held power until it was finally defeated by the Progressive Labour Party (PLP).
When the UBP handed over the reins of power the national debt was minimal, but it had ballooned to US$1.4 billion by the time the PLP narrowly lost to the One Bermuda Alliance (OBA) in a general election in 2012.
The OBA had been formed the previous year in a merger between most remaining UBP legislators and the short-lived Bermuda Democratic Party.
The PLP returned to power last year after a crushing victory over the OBA.
Terceira was elected to the House of Assembly as UBP MP for Pembroke West in 1984 and held the portfolios for Education, Health and Works and Engineering at various times, before stepping down 13 years following his 70th birthday.
As Works Minister, he oversaw the construction of the dual carriageway on East Broadway on the outskirts of Hamilton, which was known known as Tessi’s Highway at the time.
Dunkley, a former UBP legislator who became Premier under the OBA in 2014, said: “History will show that ‘Tessi’ contributed greatly to the progress of our island and we are grateful for his service through the years.”
“I served with ‘Tessi’ when I entered the House of Assembly in 1997 and knew him many years earlier as my dentist.Even after he was no longer involved in politics he would still reach out and provide advice and his views on current matters. I knew him as a meticulous person, very kind, compassionate and understanding,” he added.
Trevor Moniz, another former UBP MP who is now an OBA parliamentarian, said Terceira had always been “pleasant and cheerful”.
Terceira, the grandson of immigrants who came to Bermuda from the Azores to work as farm labourers in the 19th century, leaves behind his widow Joan, sons Paul and Timothy, daughters Joy and Lesley, and stepdaughter Karon, as well as five granddaughters and two grandsons.
His first wife died in 1990 and he had a grandson, who died in 2005.