Nigel “Sant” Jones, 43, of Main Road, Gran Couva, a former “king” and considered an icon in the fraternity died on Tuesday as a result of a head injury he sustained during a stick-fight bout in the recently concluded Carnival season.
Newsday was told that during a preliminary bout, Jones received a “bois” to the head. That however didn’t stop him from competing in the February 10 finals held at Skinner Park, San Fernando in which he placed fourth, grieving relatives told Newsday yesterday as final preparations were being made for his funeral. A postmortem last week revealed his death was due to a cerebral vascular accident, they said.
“He was a fearless stick-fighter, a warrior and very professional at what he did,” said his brother Quincy Jones, also a stick-fighter.
“That lash didn’t stop him from going back into the ring as he was a finalist in Skinner Park. He dropped after he went in the ring and got a lash on his hand,” he said.
Every year, Jones showed off his skills in the re-enactment of the Camboulay riots and this year was no different. He also did stick-fighting workshops for the National Carnival Commission.
Newsday was told that last Tuesday he suffered what they thought was a stroke and rushed him to hospital. He however later died.
Members of stick-fighting gayelles mourned the death of Jones, a stick-fighter for 22 years who captained the Gayelle No 1 of Gran Couva.
Quincy said his brother taught him and many young men the art of stick-fighting.
“He was a real stick jumbie. From the time Carnival season began and stick-fighting start, Nigel would literally disappear. The only place you could find him is in a gayelle. He was fast on his feet, a smooth stick-fighter and hailed as the best dancer in the ring.”
King Peter (Moses Razack) who said he introduced Jones to stick-fighting described him as his best ever stick fighter.
“For me he was 20 stick-fighters wrapped up in one, he was so good, he used to walk on them,” an emotional King Peter told Newsday.
Drummers and chantwells from gayelles across the country including Talparo, Moruga, Orange Field, Tabaquite, and Rio Claro were expected to provide rhythm and song for the grand send off yesterday while stick-fighters were expected to bear his casket from the Gran Couva Roman Catholic Church to the Gran Couva cemetery for burial.
Jones leaves to mourn his daughter Shernella.