Member Of Assembly Convicted of ‘Tiefin’ Da People’s Money’ Election Declared Void 1890


In 1889, the conviction of Thomas Narcisse George Clare for ‘tiefin’ da people’s money’ while in public office, caused his election, as the Member for Harbour Island, to be declared void. Thomas Clare’s own guilty plea, to embezzlement and larceny and a five-year prison sentence, occasioned him, by immediate disqualification, to vacate his seat in the House of Assembly.

Thomas Narcisse George Clare, born in England in 1846, was only 21 years old, when he had been elected to represent the Eastern District of St. Anne’s Parish, Nassau in October 1867. Just the year before, on Thursday 2nd August 1866, he married one Mary Elizabeth Anne Farrington, of Nassau, Bahamas. She was, it was speculated, without family due to one of the many disease epidemics, which had struck islands, and was around 13 years old – the customary age of marriage in the 19th century. Thomas and Mary went on to have seven children.

Twenty-two years later, in 1889, Thomas Clare would be a desperate man; an embezzler, running from law.

Thomas Clare, the Postmaster and Representative for Harbour Island Suddenly Disappears – August 1889

On 10th., August 1889, the whereabouts of the Postmaster and Representative for Harbour Island, Thomas Narcisse George Clare, was actively being sought. The circumstances were of an urgent nature. His sudden disappearance may have had something to do with the impending audit of the books of the Post Office in Nassau. In the late 19th century, the Post Office played an important role in effecting countless financial and fiduciary transactions in the Bahama Islands. Postmasters had to be men of impeccable and unimpeachable character. They were akin to bankers in some respects. Their accurate record-keeping was counted on by government. A lot of money, as well as, debt and receivable notes, passed through their hands. For Thomas Narcisse George Clare, the temptation proved too much.

Thomas Clare Found Hiding On Boat At Ragged Island, Charged With Embezzlement and Larceny

Thomas Clare boarded the first schooner leaving Nassau in early August 1889. An all island search was being made after it was quickly discovered that serious amounts of money were missing from the Post Office. Thomas Clare – originally from Lewes, Sussex, England, born in 1846 – was found hiding on a boat, all the way down in Ragged Island. Clare was an educated man. Using this, he was able to falsify the records to show money transactions and balances, which were purely a figment of his imagination. Thomas Clare, upon his arrest and return to Nassau, was promptly charged with three counts of embezzlement and larceny.