As they commission newly restored jetty MTCA and MRC open Bunce Island to the World
The Ministry of Tourism and Cultural Affairs and Monuments and Relics Commission have commissioned the newly restored jetty on Bunce Island. The event which took place on Thursday, October 24, 2019, attracted people from all walks of life. Mohamed Faray Kargbo witnessed the ceremony and now reports.
People from the surrounding villages of Tassoh, Sangbulina, and Rotoumba came in their numbers. Their faces beaming with happiness, they brought drummers and dancers, feasted and made merry.
The restoration of a jetty on the Island was long overdue. It ended years of unsafe landing on the castle.
Since the abolition of the slave trade in 1807 Bunce Island has suffered years of neglect resulting in deterioration due to unfavorable climatic conditions and the ravages of time.
Prior to the commissioning, Minister of Tourism and Cultural Affairs, Dr Memunatu Pratt had underscored the need for sustainable heritage tourism and the importance of preserving historic sites.
The construction of that jetty served as a precursor to major restoration work that the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) is funding.
Jointly implemented by the World Monuments Fund and the Monuments and Relics Commission, the restoration will greatly improve the general outlook of the Island while improving visitor experience.
The new floating jetty is constructed such that vessels could dock during high or low tides.
Chairman of the Monuments and Relics Commission, Charlie Haffner appealed for more funds to comprehensively restore the ruins of the slave fort.
The programme which was chaired by the Deputy Minister of Tourism, William IK Robinson saw representatives from the education, transport, environment protection and local authorities making invaluable contributions.
Funds for the restoration of the new jetty was provided by the Government of Sierra Leone.
Restoration work on the jetty started in 2017.
Bunce Island is a Slave Castle in Sierra Leone where tens of thousands of Africans were sold into slavery from 1670-1807.