Colombo, Arthur F. (2.8.1905-17.2.1978)
A Sliema-bom medical doctor, Colombo was very popular in Gzira and Sliema. He politics in September 1944 and was elmw assistant secretary-general of the executive committee of the Labour Party.
In November he was nominated propaganda secretary, a position which no other political party had. In 1945 he was elected from the second electoral district.
In August 1945 he accompanied Dr Boffa and Mr Dom Mintoff on a special delegation to UK to meet British Prime Minister C.R Atlee. The following November he was elected to the executive council. On 21 March 1945, the MLP launched the bilingual newspaper The Dawn, with Colombo as editor. In 1947 he was elected from two districts, confirming that he was the second-most popular politician after party leader Boffa. He was given the portfolio as minister of finance, customs, and ports, a very delicate responsibility during the self-government. Between May and September 1950 he was minister of industry, commerce, agriculture, fisheries, and Posts.
During his term of office, Colombo showed that he was a dedicated and clever person who was not only a powerful journalist but also a great orator. He was never afraid to challenge either the opposition or the British administration. He was the man behind the Census Act, the introduction of income tax, the Succession and Donation Duty Act, and the national lottery. Colombo's problems inside the @P started when he said that the situation was not yet ripe for the introduction of the old age pension scheme and also opposed the bill in the Legislative Assembly.
Prior to this, on 8 November 1947, he lost his battle with Mintoff for the position of Labour Party deputy leader by 191 votes to 93. Colombo was considered one of the ablest men in the party, and even deputized for the prime minister. At one time he wanted to resign as minister because of a claim for a raise in wages, also supported by Mintoff. He was expelled from the MLP in October 1949. In 1950 he contested the general elections with Boffa 's MWP, but resigned from the Legislative Assembly and joined the Franciscan Capuchin Order as a novice in 1951.
He continued his studies in Bergamo, Italy and, on 12 June 1953, he was ordained priest. by Cardinal Schuster in Milan, choosing the name of Fr. Ferdinand. In December 1955 he was sent to Australia where he organized the Maltese community of Sydney, carried out survey work, and established centres to help the 160,000 Maltese settlers there. For some time he worked as missionary in Ethiopia. After obtaining a dispensation from the ecclesiastical authorities in Rome, he left the Order and, in February 1974, tried to re-enter politics by launching the National Democratic Party, which actually never took off and did not even contest the 1976 elections.
Source: Maltese Biographies of the Twentieth Century (1997), editors Michael J. Schiavone and Louis J. Scerri
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