Kupang (ANTARA) - Several residents of Komodo Island in West Manggarai District, East Nusa Tenggara Province, expressed their vehement rejection to the plan to close the island for a year, effective from January 1, 2020.

"We, the residents of Komodo Island, reject the closure of the island since we believe it will only impact our livelihood in the tourism sector," Chairman of the Youth village of Komodo Akbar M. stated here on Monday.

The statement was made in connection with the discourse of closing Komodo Island from January 2020.

Akbar expounded that after the Sail Komodo event in 2013, nearly all residents of Komodo Village had switched their professions and livelihood to tourism sector-related vocations that appeared to hold promise.

Hence, he believes that if Komodo Island were to be closed for a year, some 500 families comprising around 1,800 people residing on the island would bear the brunt since they would soon have to find new jobs.

Moreover, Akbar pointed out that the residents of Komodo Village in Komodo Island were adamant about not being relocated to other places, as they were the foremost ones to inhabit the island prior to its designation as a conservation island.

"The provincial government said it will relocate us, but we assume they wanted to evict us from this island on grounds of conservation. In fact, we believe that the relocation plan was based on other objectives linked to business affairs to be conducted later on at this island," he pointed out.

Hence, he highlighted the possibility of business-related objectives behind the discourse of closing Komodo Island in spite of the uttered claim of conservation.

In the meantime, Irvin H, a resident of Komodo Village, confessed to yet being clueless on the subsequent course of action if the government were to ultimately close Komodo Island and relocate the residents.

"I have, so far, worked and made a living from the tourism sector in this island, including sending my children to school for education. If the island’s closure is realized, it would become a problem for me and my family," he emphasized. Related news: East Nusa Tenggara set to close Komodo Island
Related news: Komodo Island to be developed into very exclusive tourist attraction


Translator: Kornelis Kaha, Yuni Arisandy
Editor: Suharto
Copyright © ANTARA 2019