Current Affairs
“The Centenary of the 1921 Constitution is a means for people to appreciate how Malta became a nation”

President George Vella views the Centenary of the granting of the 1921 Constitution as a means for the people to appreciate that Malta became a nation. How democracy began to take root and continued to grow through groups, political parties and unions for workers. He said it also shows how the country was a victim of colonial circumstances and remained so until Independence and the creation of the Republic.

He said the granting of the Constitution was not a sole event but was a reflection on the fact that only British Colonialism ruled to emphasise British dominance and avoid any kind of Maltese Governance. Thus the 1921 Constitution gave the Maltese the opportunity to form part of their own administering.

Dr Vella said that through the virtual conference he was addressing he was increasing the realisation of history among the people and thus creating more recognition of what made the country a nation.

The President said we just cannot close our eyes and assume that all of what we are today just descended from Heaven without appreciating the difficulties the country went through to become what it is today. To acquire what we are today many underwent great difficulties to show the way forward and today we should appreciate the freedom acquired after the country was under colonialism and was run and administered by foreign elements.

The conference discussed the granting of the 1921 Constitution and its relevance today. Professor Frances Camilleri Cassar dealt with the role of women in public life. She said that research established why the presence of women in Parliament was low as a result of men questioning how women can possibly cope with politics when they already have enough to do. She said that prejudice, lack of finance, and lack of support and resistance from political parties themselves had held women back. She maintained that political parties should assure that female candidates have a chance to be elected.

Professor Raymond Mangion said the 1921 Constitution gave rise to social services to fight poverty that prevailed throughout the country. Professor Josann Cutajar said the current gap underlines how politicians promote the interests of certain groups.

Historian Joe Pirotta said the British had always viewed Malta as a fortress and the Maltese were not capable of anything. Professor Pirotta said the British tried to promote the Maltese Language as an Arabic dialect to counter the increase and promotion of Italian.

Fr Nicholas Doublet analysed how the British viewed the Maltese embracing their religion with the Maltese insisting that the Roman Catholic religion was the religion of Malta while the British insisted on the concept of tolerance.