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rule once again. In 1959 an interim constitution was introduced under which executive authority was vested in the Governor who was advised by a nominated Executive Council which included Maltese non-official members, an arrangement similar to that which had been in force between 1936 and 1939.
As a result of the report of the Malta Constitutional Commission, 1960, which was appointed under the Chairmanship of Sir Hilary Blood, a new constitution, giving internal self-government was put into operation in March 1962. Foreign Affairs and Defence remained the ultimate responsibility of the British Government, which was represented in Malta by a United Kingdom Commissioner. A Consultative Council was established to provide for consultation between the Governments on matters of mutual concern. The Legislative Assembly consisted of 50 Members elected under the single, transferable, vote system. A Cabinet, consisting of a Prime Minister and not more than seven other Ministers, was appointed from the Legislative Assembly, and was collectively responsible to it. The Governor was appointed by the Crown and generally acted on the advice of the Maltese Ministers.
In 1962 the Nationalist Party under Dr Borg Olivier was successful at the polls, and after talks with the Colonial Secretary constitutional amendments were made giving wider powers to the Maltese Government. But this constitution was acceptable to neither of the major parties both of whose electoral programmes had included independence for Malta; and in August 1962 Dr Borg Olivier again called for independence. After further discussions in December 1962 and following a visit to Malta by the Colonial Secretary in June 1963 when he met representatives of all the political parties, the Malta Independence Conference took place in London in July 1963. This broke up without settling the final details of an independence Constitution, but the Commonwealth and Colonial Secretary suggested that the various Maltese parties should return to Malta to settle their constitutional differences in preparation for Independence by 31st May 1964. After further talks in London and Malta Dr Borg Olivier produced a new Constitution which was approved by the Malta Legislative Assembly and later by an island-wide referendum. A majority of the valid votes cast in the referendum were in favour of independence under the new constitution. After further talks in London, the Secretary of State for Commonwealth Relations and for the Colonies was able to announce in the House of Commons on 21st July 1964 that negotiations had been completed on the question of Malta's Independence and the form of Malta's new Constitution settled.
Under a Defence Agreement (Cmnd. 2410) signed at independence, British forces are entitled to remain in Malta for ten years. Under a Finance Agreement (Cmnd. 2423) Britain has undertaken to provide, during the same period, capital aid for diversification of the economy and for assistance to emigration up to a total of £50 million. Malta became independent on 21st September 1964.
A General Election was held in March 1966, which resulted in the return to power of Dr G. Borg Olivier and the Nationalist Party.
The Governor-General of Malta is appointed by Her Majesty The Queen and is the representative of Her Majesty in Malta.
The Parliament of Malta consists of Her Majesty and a House of Representatives, and, subject to the provisions of the Constitution, is empowered to make laws for the peace, good order and good government of Malta. The fifty Members of the House of Representatives are elected by those citizens of Malta who have attained the age of 21 years and are not otherwise disqualified. There are ten electoral divisions and voting is by the single transferable vote system of proportional representation. The House elects its own Speaker and Deputy Speaker from among its own Members or from among persons who are qualified to be Members. The conduct of elections is placed under the direction and supervision of an Electoral Commission, which is also required to review the boundaries of the electoral divisions from time to time. Parliament, unless previously dissolved, has a life of five years.
The executive authority in Malta is vested in Her Majesty but the authority is normally exercised by the Governor-General on Her Majesty's behalf. The Governor-General is required to act in accordance with the advice of the Cabinet except in certain specified cases. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General, and must be the Member of the House of Representatives who, in the judgement of the Governor-General is able to command the confidence of a majority of the Members of that House. Other Ministers are also appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister, and portfolios are allocated to them by the Governor-General on the same advice. The Cabinet of Malta consists of the Prime Minister and the other Ministers and has the general direction and control of the Government of Malta and is collectively responsible to Parliament.
The Leader of the Opposition is appointed by the Governor-General, who appoints to this post either the leader of the main opposition party or, if there are two or more opposition parties, the person who, in his judgment, commands the support of the largest single group of members of the House in opposition to the Government.
The Constitution provides for Superior Courts, one of which is known as the Constitutional Court and which has jurisdiction to hear and determine disputes over Membership of the House of Representatives and appeals from other courts on constitutional and certain other matters. The Chief Justice and the Judges are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. There is appeal to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council from the decisions of the Constitutional Court and, in the case of certain civil proceedings, from the decision of the Court of Appeal. Parliament may prescribe that appeal may also lie in other cases. The Crown Advocate-General is appointed by the GovernorGeneral on the advice of the Prime Minister.
The Public Service Commission for Malta consists of a Chairman, Deputy Chairman and from one to three other Members. These are appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister. Subject to the provisions of the Constitution, power to make appointments in public offices and to remove and to exercise disciplinary control over persons holding such offices rests with the Prime Minister acting on the recommendations of the Public Service Commission.
The Constitution provides that the religion of Malta is the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion, and the State guarantees to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Church the right freely to express its proper spiritual and ecclesiastical functions and duties and to manage its own affairs.
The national language of Malta is Maltese, but English and Maltese are the official languages. The Language of the Courts is Maltese.
The Constitution contains a Declaration of Principles concerning the right to work, compulsory and free primary education, hours of work, the safe-guarding of rights of women workers, the encouragement of private economic enterprise, the encouragement of co-operatives, the provision of social assistance and insurance, and so on; and it also includes a Chapter on the Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual, such as the protection of the right to life, freedom from arbitrary arrest or detention, protection of freedom of conscience, protection from discrimination on the grounds of race, etc.
The distribution of seats in the House of Representatives, which assembled in April 1966 after the General Election held in the previous month was: Nationalist Party 28; Malta Labour Party 22.
The Hon. Dr Giorgio Borg Olivier, MP
Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs:
The Hon. Dr Tommaso Caruana Demajo, MP
Minister of Health: The Hon. Dr Alexander Cachia Zammit, MP
Minister of Finance, Customs and Port: The Hon. Dr Giovanni Felice
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
The Hon. Mr Justice M. Caruana Curran
The Hon. Mr Justice E. Magri
MINISTRIES AND GOVERNMENT DEPARTMENTS
Commissioner of Civil Defence: E. S. Tonna,
MBE Administrative Secretary: The Hon. Edgar
Commissioner for Gozo: J. Micallef Cuschieri, CbE
Director of Information: Chev. Paul J. Under Secretary: Chev. Edgar Cassar
Naudi, MBE Principal Assistant Secretaries: J. Carabott; Commissioner of Police: Vivian de Gray, M. Abela, MBE; J. V. Bonello, MBE
MVO, MBE, BEM Director of Civil Aviation: Gerald H. Ferro, Principal Government Statistician: Henry A. MVO, MBE
MALTESE REPRESENTATIVES IN
NON-COMMONWEALTH COUNTRIES Britain: Dr Anthony Pullicino (High Com- Council of Europe (Permanent Represenmissioner); Australia: Joseph Mamo-Dingli
tative resident in Malta); United Nations (High Commissioner).
(Permanent Representative resident in Washington); The Holy See and Sovereign
Military Hospitaller Order of St John of COMMONWEALTH HIGH COMMISSIONERS
Jerusalem, of Rhodes and of Malta (resident IN MALTA
in Malta); Italy, Israel, Greece, Austria and Australia: Sir Hubert Opperman, OBE; Switzerland (resident in Rome); Tunis, Libya Britain: Sir Duncan Watson, KCMG; and United Arab Republic (resident in Canada: B. Rogers (Resident in Rome); Tripoli); Belgium, N.A.T.O.; E.E.C., Spain, India: Raja J. K. Atal (Resident in Rome); Netherlands, West Germany, France and Pakistan: Hamid Nawaz Khan (Resident in Luxembourg, (resident in Brussels); U.S.A. Rome).
and U.S.S.R., (resident in Washington).
AURITIUS lies 500 miles off the east coast of the Malagasy Republic between latitudes 19° 58' and 20° 32' S. and longitudes 57° 17' and
57° 46' E. It owes its name to the Dutch settlers who landed there in 1598 and who named the island after their ruler, Prince Maurice de Nassau. It is 1,551 miles from Durban, 2,094 from Colombo and 3,182 from Perth, Australia.
The territory includes Rodrigues Island, 350 miles to the east, with an area of 40 square miles and a population of about 20,000.
Mauritius, which is roughly pear-shaped, is 38 miles long by 29 miles broad. From the north an extensive undulating plain rises gently towards the central plateau, where it reaches a height of about 2,200 feet before dropping sharply to the southern and western coast. There are three main groups of mountains—the Port Louis group running in an east-north-easterly direction, the Black RiverSavanne group massed in a north to south direction, and the Bambous group with an east-west trend. The highest peaks are Piton de la Rivière Noire (2,711 feet), Pieter Both (2,690 feet) and Le Pouce (2,661 feet). The main watershed of the island runs northwards across the central plateau for a distance of about 20 miles. From this ridge the ground slopes towards the coast, except where interrupted by the mountain ranges or by isolated peaks. The rivers consequently tend to run westward or eastward. Most of them are short and fast flowing, generally at the bottom of deep ravines and interrupted by waterfalls. The longest river is Grand River South East (24.5 miles). No river in the island is navigable but some of the larger have been harnessed for hydro-electric purposes. True crater lakes are found at Bassin Blanc and Grand Bassin, but in general water conservation is achieved by man-made reservoirs, of which there are now eight, the most important being Mare aux Vacoas. The mountains are a striking feature of the landscape, rising abruptly from the surrounding plain, with their lower slopes covered with dense vegetation—now being replaced by sugar cane or tea-and their upper slopes ending in precipitous rocky peaks. The island is almost completely encircled by coral reefs, within which are lagoons and a succession of beaches of white coral sand.
The island enjoys a sub-tropical maritime climate, with sufficient difference between summer and winter to avoid monotony: further variation is introduced by the wide range of rainfall and temperature resulting from the mountainous nature of the island. The south-east trade winds blow most of the year and the climate is generally humid. The summer season runs from November to April, and the winter from June to October, though April-June and SeptemberNovember can be looked upon as transitional periods and are usually the most pleasant in the year. Rain falls mainly in summer, but there is no well-defined dry season. At sea the annual rainfall near Mauritius is about 40 inches, but the uplift of the moisture-laden maritime air caused by the mountains results in an annual rainfall varying from about 60 inches on the south-east coast to 200 inches on the central plateau. On the west coast the annual fall is 35 inches. Variation from year to year is not large, but is nevertheless sufficiently great to reduce considerably the size of the sugar and other crops when the year is dry.
In Port Louis the day maximum and night minimum temperatures during the hottest months average 31°C (87.8°F) and 24°C (75.2°F) respectively; in the winter they average 25°C (77°F) and 20°C (68°F). The highest and lowest reached are: