The former military hospital should be an extension of the Intercontinental Museum of Slavery. The United Docks building in Trou Fanfaron will also house the museum’s main facilities. This is the compromise reached at the meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Xavier-Luc Duval and the leaders of the slavery museum project, Vijaya Teelock and Jimmy Harmon, on Tuesday.
At this meeting, the Deputy Prime Minister maintained his position taken at the Internasional Kreol Festival on 17 November. He had announced that the Museum of Slavery would be located on United Docks grounds, next to the Aapravasi Ghat in Port Louis. An announcement that raised some protests from those who thought that this museum should be on the site of the former military hospital.
However, according to our cross-references, the steps taken between the inter-ministerial committee in charge of the file – chaired by Xavier-Luc Duval – and the former owners of the United Docks site are at an advanced stage. No way to go back. This site would have cost the State a land of nearly one hectare in the port area. Land which would be worth Rs 53 million and which was originally intended for the Binani Cement Group of India.
However, to decant the situation, the Deputy Prime Minister would have proposed that the building of the former military hospital be an extension of the museum. The project would not have declined. The site of the military hospital would be devoted to the various diseases and epidemics that prevailed during the period of slavery. Built in 1740 by slaves and laborers from Pondicherry, the former military hospital is the oldest building in Port Louis still standing. A site which, according to some historians, deserves to be saved, just for its historical character.