The Memorial ACTe centre is part of the UNESCO Slave Route Project, which aims to encourage rapprochement between peoples with shared involvement in the slave trade. It’s not a museum, but instead it will gather permanent and temporary exhibits and host a wide range of art performances and conferences. French President François Hollande took part in the inauguration ceremony, giving a speech attacking modern-day people trafficking in the Caribbean.
The project cost €83million, a controversial figure for an island beset by economic difficulties. ‘Today Guadeloupe means 60 per cent of under-25-year-olds unemployed, practically 30 to 33 per cent of the working age population unemployed, an illiteracy rate of more than 25 per cent of the population,’ said Elie Domota, a trade unionist, in an interview with Radio France International.
Meanwhile, lobbying for compensation for slavery continues. 63 per cent of people living in France’s overseas territory (including Guadeloupe) favour reparations.
There are currently 15 Caribbean nations seeking reparations for the slave trade from western governments, through regional economic organisation Caricom.
This article was published in the July 2015 edition of Geographical Magazine