By Mohamed Faray Kargbo
With funds provided by the Government of Sierra Leone, the Monuments and Relics Commission is leading the restoration/construction of a jetty on Bunce Island. The development of the jetty is a precursor to major restoration works that will be funded by the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) and implemented by World Monuments Fund and the Monuments and Relics Commission.
The restoration is being done by Class Diving Sierra Leone Ltd which signed a contract with the Monuments and Relics Commission on 25th October, 2017 for the development of a new jetty on the Island.
The restoration of the new jetty is part of preparatory steps towards a comprehensive restoration of the Bunce Island Historic Park as documented in the General Management Plan of Bunce Island. When completed, the jetty would ease the travelling to and from the island whilst simultaneously creating a perfect landing site for vessels with persons visiting the Island.
The project is expected to last for six months. The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs through its sub vented agency, the Monuments and Relics Commission is providing overall supervision of the project.
Bunce Island was one of forty slave castles on the Rice Coast of West Africa and was operated by four British firms throughout its history. Founded around 1670, it exported tens of thousands of African captives to the Americas and the West Indies until the British Parliament abolished the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade in 1807, and it finally closed down in 1808. During its long and tragic history, Bunce Island was operated by four London-based companies: the Gambia Adventurers; the Royal African Company of England (which had official recognition from the British Crown); and the private firms of Grant, Oswald & Company and John & Alexander Anderson.