Anton Buttiġieġ, B.A., LL.D.; Maltese Lawyer and politician; born on 19th February, 1912, Gozo, son of Saviour and Concetta (nee’ Falzon) Buttiġieġ; married Carmen Bezzina in 1944; married Connie Scicluna in 1953; married Margery Patterson in 1975; two sons, one daughter; educated at the Royal Malta University.
Notary Public 1939; Advocate 1941; Police Inspector during Second World War; Law reporter and leader writer Times of Malta 1944 – 48; Acting Magistrate 1955; Editor, the Voice of Malta 1959; Member of Parliament 1955 – 76; President of the Malta Labour Party 1959 – 61; Deputy Leader 1962 – 76; Delegate to Malta Constitutional Conferences, London 1958 – 64; Representative to Consultative Assembly, Council of Europe 1967; Vice-President 1967 – 68; Deputy Prime Minister 1971 – 76; Minister of justice and Parliamentary Affairs June 1977; President of the Republic of Malta 27th December, 1976; Member of the Academy of the Maltese Language; first prize for Poetry, Government of Malta 1971; Guze’ Muscat Azzopardi prize for poetry 1972; silver plaque for poetry Circolo Culturale Rhegium Julii of Reggio Calbria 1975.
He held office as the second President of Malta between 27th December 1976 and 26th December 1981.
Leisure interests: horse racing, gardening.
Lyric Poetry: Mill-Gallerija ta’ Żghożiti (From the Balcony of my Youth) 1945, Fanali bil-Lejl (Lamps in the Night) 1949, Qasba mar-Riħ (A Reed in the Wind) 1968, Fl-Arena (In the Arena) 1970;
Humorous poetry: Ejjew Nidħku Ftit (Let us Laugh a Bit) 1963, Ejjew nidħku ftit ieħor (Let us Laugh a Bit More) 1966;
Haikus and Tankas: Il-Muża bil-Kimono (The Muse in Kimono) (also in Japanese and English) 1968; Ballati Maltin (Maltese Ballads) 1973, Il Mare di Malta (Editors, de Lucca, Rome) 1974, il-Għanja tas-Sittin (The Song of the Sixty Year Old) 1975. Other works – The Lamplighter – an anthology of Maltese poems translated into English by Francis Ebejer.
Dr Buttiġieġ died on May 5, 1983
Anton Buttiġieġ was born in Qala, Gozo, on the 19th February, 1912, the third child of Salvatore and Concetta (nee’ Falzon). He was educated at the Government Primary School, Qala (1916 – 1922), the Gozo Seminary (1923 – 1927), St. Aloysius College Malta (1928 – 1930) and the University of Malta, where he graduated Bachelor of Arts in 1934 and Doctor of Laws in 1940.
In 1944 he married the late Carmen Bezzina and had three children – John (now Dr J. Buttiġieġ B.A., LL.D., M.P) – Rose (now wife of Dr J. Brincat, B.A. (Lond.), B.Sc. (Econ.) (Lond.), LL.D., M.P.) and Emanuel (now Dr E. Buttiġieġ LL.D., a practising lawyer.
In 1953 he married the late Connie Scicluna. The death of his two wives seem to have been the major tragedies of his life and they have been reflected in his poetry. In 1975 he married Margery Patterson.
During the Second World War (1942 – 1944) he served in the Police Force as Inspector and thereafter he practised Law. In 1955 he also served as an acting Magistrate. He was the Law reporter and leader writer of the “Times of Malta” from 1946 to 1948 and the Editor of “The Voice of Malta” from 1959 to 1970.
He embarked on a political career and was first elected to the House of Representatives in the Labour Party interest in 1955. He was re-elected in all subsequent elections and held his seat in Parliament up to the time of his resignation in October 1976. From 1959 to 1961 he was President of the Malta Labour Party and from 1962 to 1976 its Deputy Leader. When the present administration took office in 1971, he served his country as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs.
He was a delegate to the Malta Constitutional Conferences held in London in 1958 and in 1964. He was also a representative to the Consultative Assembly in the Council of Europe (1967 – 1971), where he was elected Vice-President (1967 – 1968).
In October 1976 he resigned from the House of Representatives and on 27th December, 1976 he was elected as the second President of the Republic of Malta.
Dr Anton Buttiġieġ also distinguished himself in the field of literature. During his undergraduate days he was one of the founder members of the University Students “Society for the Maltese Language” (26-1-1931). He was a Member of the “Academy of the Maltese Language” (20-3-1938).
In 1971 he won First Prize for Poetry – “Malta Government”.
In 1972 he won the “Guże’ Muscat Azzopardi” prize for poetry.
In 1975 the “Circolo Culturale Rhegium Julii” of Reggio Calabria awarded him with a silver plaque for his poetry.
In 1977 he won the “International Prize of Mediterranean Culture for Poetry” awarded by the “Centro di Cultura Mediterranea” of Palermo.
In 1979 he was awarded First Prize and a Special Diploma for Poetry in the First Category by the Centro Culturale Artistico Letterario – Citta’ di Brindisi.
In 1979 he won “First Prize” for the first volume of his auto-biography “Toni tal-Baħri” (Toni the Seaman’s Son) in the “Malta Literary Award”.
His various publications include:-
“Mill-Gallarija ta’ Żgħożiti” – From the Balcony of my Youth – 1949
“Fanali bil-Lejl”. – Lamps in the Night – 1949
“Fl-Arena”. – In the Arena – 1970
“Ballati Maltin”. – Maltese Ballads – 1973
“Il Mare di Malta”. – The Sea of Malta-A selection of poems translated into Italian – 1974
“Il-Għanja tas-Sittin” – The Song of the Sixty Year Old – 1975
“The Lamplighter”. A selection of poems translated into English – 1977. They are also being translated into the Slovenian Language, which is one of the Yugoslav Languages and into German.
“Qabs el Mosbah”. A selection of poems translated into Arabic – 1978
“Poeżiji Miġbura – L-ewwel Volum” – The first two books.
“From the Balcony of my Youth” and “Lamps in the Night” have been published in one volume under the title “Collected Poems” – 1978.
“Ejjew nidħku ftit” – Let us laugh a little – 1963
“Ejjew nidħku ftit ieħor” – Let us laugh a little more – 1966
HAIKUS AND TANKAS:
“Il-Muża bil-Kimono” – The Muse in Kimono. This book was translated both into Japanese and into English – 1968.
His books in preparation include:-
A collection of speeches and short stories.
“Żibeg u Boċċi” – (Beads and Marbles). A collection of Haikus and Tankas.
The first volume “Toni tal-Baħri” – Toni the Seaman’s Son was published in 1978.
His leisure interests were horse racing and gardening.
Dr Anton Buttiġieġ was also President of the St. Gaetano Band Club of Ħamrun.