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The Dragon is dead

The Dragon is dead


Vincentians, in particular Carnival and Mas lovers, awoke to the sad news on Tuesday, June 17th, that veteran mas man Roy ‘Dragon’ Ralph had died.

As letters and phone calls of condolence pour in from around the world, close family members of the 63-year-old icon try to come to grips with the unexpected death.{{more}}

A visit to Ralph’s residence at Sion Hill finds Ralph’s common law wife Yolande, and daughters Zenon and Zorana at home trying to go about their daily lives, but every step appears a bit slower and harder to make without a man described as the pillar of the family.

Looking back at the last time she saw her father alive, Zenon, an employee of the New Montrose Hotel, remembers having a conversation with him just before she headed out to work.

She remembers her father being in good spirits and looking forward to going off to the Mirage Mas Tent that morning.

“He come home after 12 the night before, and in the morning about 7 o’clock he was up and talking about the band.”

“I leave home about 7:15 and by the time I get to work my mother call me and tell me Daddy now fall on her and he was frothing at the mouth and I must come quick.”

Zenon then called the ambulance before rushing back home.

But the time she got there, her father, the legend, was gone.

A post mortem performed on Wednesday indicated that Ralph suffered a cerebro-vascular accident; a burst blood vessel in the brain.

Prior to his death he was found to be in perfect health, having undergone a full medical in May.

The young Ralph revealed that her father had predicted that he would die this year during the Carnival Season, an assertion that she and other family members had dismissed.

As history would show, ‘Dragon’ lost his father Leslie in the Carnival season of 1985, then five years later, a son Abitunde lost his life violently during the carnival season.

The Ralph family, although saddened by the loss, is finding solace in the fact that their patriarch died doing what he loved so much – making mas.

His involvement in the art form goes as far back as 1959 as an apprentice, before he branched off to bring to life his own creations.

With a resume spanning more than forty years in the industry, during which he captured numerous king, queen, individual, section and band of the year titles, as well as many awards and honors including in 1988, 1996 and 2003, ‘Dragon’ or ‘Draggie’, touched the life of almost every individual who had created or played mas since his time.

Several tributes have come into Searchlight Newspaper, remembering the life and times of a man who was seen as the greatest mas man of all time.

At the time of his death, Dragon was working along with the Mirage Mas Band on their 2008 production.

Before that, he had been out of the active production for about two years.

His daughter believes that his eagerness to get back into the thick of things may have contributed to his passing.

She lamented that her father was a workaholic, who did not take time to have regular meals, although he ate well when he did.

She remembers the father of six and grandfather of eight being a very outspoken man who had a saying for every situation; her favorites being ‘Think before you talk’ and ‘Is your way, my way and the way things is’.

Her fondest memory of her father would be the last time she saw him alive.

Although he had predicted his fate, Roy ‘Dragon’ Ralph still looked to the future. He had dreams of hosting a mas museum, bringing out a band in 2009, and was in the process of dictating his memoirs for a book that was to be written about him.