The late Albert Fleming.is seen at a press conference during his time as Mayor of Saint-Martin.
MARIGOT--Former Mayor of Saint-Martin Albert Fleming, who presided over the territory during the Commune era for 24 years (1983-2007), passed away on Wednesday. He was 86, and would have celebrated his 87th birthday this July.
Josiane Artsen-Fleming said he passed away from heart failure at approximately 6:30pm Wednesday evening. He had been admitted to hospital on Monday, June 26. Up to that point he had not been in poor health. “He was always a very strong man,” she said.
President of the Collectivité Louis Mussington reacted with profound sadness at the news of his passing.
“This news has plunged our island into a sea of sorrow,” he said. “A local boy, he had a deep bond with every inhabitant of Saint-Martin, every family. Albert Fleming-Romney was much more than a politician; he was a true figure of our community, respected by all, always humble, smiling and attentive to the well-being of his constituents. Regardless of political affiliation, he was appreciated for his qualities and his frankness.”
Mussington described Albert Fleming-Romney’s journey: travelling an extraordinary path, going from bricklayer to entrepreneur to Mayor of Saint-Martin.
“His inspiring career will forever be etched in our memories. Everyone has a memory, an anecdote with the Mayor. His determination, his rise beyond his humble origins and his unwavering commitment to the common good were admired by all who knew him.
“He was a living example of what can be achieved with determination and perseverance. During his 24 years as Mayor of Saint-Martin, Albert Fleming-Romney left an indelible mark on the local political landscape.”
Mussington underscored Fleming’s central role in the process that led to the change in status to an Overseas Collectivité in 2007, saying it was an essential link in his political career. Despite differences of opinion, Fleming was able to transcend divisions and unite forces to present an innovative project to Minister Brigitte Girardin in 2003, so that the island's status could evolve within the framework of Article 74 of the Constitution, thus enshrining the principle of legislative autonomy.
“Thanks to his efforts Saint-Martin has acquired a status defined by an organic law that recognises our specific interests within the Republic. We pledge to continue his legacy, to follow in his footsteps and to proudly carry forward Saint-Martin's institutional autonomy, while respecting our geographical, historical and cultural specificities, and with a firm determination to acquire new competencies,” Mussington said.
“Albert Fleming-Romney's death marks the end of a flamboyant era, and his imprint will live on forever in the history of Saint-Martin. His vision, dedication and love for our island will continue to inspire future generations.
“On behalf of the Collectivité of Saint-Martin, its elected representatives and all territorial staff, I would like to express my most sincere condolences to the family and loved ones of Albert Fleming-Romney, and to all the people of Saint-Martin who share our grief.”