It is with a heavy heart that I received the sad news of the passing of Aline Hanson, the first female president of the Territorial Collectivity of St. Martin. I have had the privilege of knowing her personally for many years. We both shared the same passion for education and politics. Her belief in and love for the whole island was unshakable. Madame President as she was fondly called represented the very best in St. Martin womanhood. She was strong, courageous, determined, loving and caring.
For her politics and friendship were two different things. She could be on opposing sides with you politically but still remained very good friends with you. That is part of the St. Maarten character which has made this island so unique. As we mourn her loss, I pray that we would always remember not to allow politics or any other forces to divide us. On behalf of the Government and people of St. Maarten (south) and on behalf of my family and myself, I wish to extend heartfelt condolences to the Territorial Council and our brothers and sisters in the North, and in particular to the Hanson family and all the relatives and friends she left behind. May her soul rest in eternal peace.