HC Deb 14 December 1950 vol 482 cc216-8W
Mr. Harrison

asked the Secretary of State for the Colonies if he will make a statement concerning the Maltese camp at Dekhelia, Cyprus.

Mr. J. Griffiths

The camp at Dekhelia was opened last year to house some 400 British subjects who had been evacuated to India from Greece and Turkey in 1941 and, for one reason or another, were unable to return to their previous homes after the war. Although known as "Maltese," since they owe their British nationality to Maltese forebears, these refugees have lost all connection with Malta and do not speak Maltese. The problem of their resettlement, after life in a series of refugee camps, is difficult but is being tackled with energy by the Cyprus Government. Seventy of the original 400 have already left to settle in various countries where their maintenance or employment has been guaranteed and it is hoped that another 100 or so will be enabled to leave within the next few months. Various schemes have been started to educate and train those who will remain in Cyprus to help them to become self-supporting but, after many years of enforced idleness, this is a slow process. There is likely in any case to remain a nucleus of the aged and infirm who will be in permanent need of relief. The expense of this resettlement scheme is met from United Kingdom funds and no charge falls on Cyprus revenues. The total cost is estimated at some £91,800 from July, 1949, when the party arrived in Cyprus, to the end of the current financial year, and will be reduced to some £30,500 for the financial year 1951–52 when there will be fewer in the camp and certain economies can be made.