By Giorgio Peresso
Come fosse ieri – 71 anni fa. As though it was yesterday – it happened 71 years ago. I was a pupil at St Joseph High School at Strada Zacharia. The area was still war-torn. The opera house was in ruins (as it is still today). The building opposite St John’s, the Savoy, the Law Courts, and Kingsway Palace were among the sites destroyed. When I attempted to return home through Triq tal-Ganċ (Strada San Giovanni), I could not pass because of a large crowd. The words spoken by the crowd still echo in my ears: Il nostro cavaliere senza macchia e senza paura è morto – Our fearless knight without any shadow of corruption has passed away.
I treasure the memory of when he was Prime Minister and I was among a small group who attended the 11 am mass with him at St John’s Co-Cathedral.
The photograph below shows the funeral cortege passing through St. Anne’s Street Floriana. I was not there but my father was. In this photograph, he can be seen next to former Prime Minister Sir Paul Boffa: my father was one of the pallbearers. Enrico Mizzi’s coffin is seen passing through Floriana close to where the Lion Fountain is and where there once was the London Confectionery.
Three months earlier, I was at the courtyard of the Governor’s Place (today the Presidential palace) where the birthday of the future Prime Minister of Malta, Giorgio Borg Olivier was being celebrated. Enrico Mizzi was present. Back then, Mizzi was Malta’s Prime Minister, a post that he held for a brief period of time as death interrupted his tenure of office. Giorgio Borg Olivier gave little Giorgio (I was just 6 years old) a box of pastries.