CLASSES at Diamond Vale Government Primary School in Diego Martin had to be dismissed yesterday, the first day of the new school term, after the dead body of a security officer was found inside the school's guard booth.
The discovery was made around 6 a.m. by workers who had arrived at the school, resulting in the school's principal being forced to cancel classes for the day, the Express was told.
The deceased guard has since been identified as 47-year-old Fabian Shui Fang of River Estate, Diego Martin. He had been employed with the National Maintenance, Training and Security Co Ltd (MTS) for the past 12 years.
Investigators said they did not suspect foul play in his death, as over the past few days Shui Fang had been complaining of feeling unwell. They said he was also a heart patient who was recently hospitalised for the ailment.
Parents had to be called back to the school to pick up their children who had arrived there before Shui Fang's body was found. However, up to midday, three children were seen playing on the compound.
Residents who lived close to the school described how Shui Fang's body was found. Gerard Reyes said Shui Fang had been stationed at the school for the past three years. During that time, both of them became good friends, he said.
Reyes said shortly before 6 a.m., workers arrived at the school but were unable to enter because the gate was locked.
He said the workers called out to Shui Fang several times but got no response. It was then, he said, that one of the workers decided to jump over the gate to investigate.
The door to the booth was also locked, but the workers managed to pry it open before finding Shui Fang, a father of four, in a prone position.
"It look like he died in his sleep. He look like that heart attack took him when he was sleeping because of how he was lying down. I also think that he died since last night (Sunday) because his body was real cold and stiff," Reyes said.
He said on Friday, Shui Fang told him he was not feeling well but refused to stop working.
"I was telling him to leave the work alone and go home and rest but he never wanted to stop working. He told me that he had some type of loan to pay off to the bank and that he could not afford to stay home," he said.
Shui Fang's wife, Cheryl, who was at the home of relatives along Gokool Road, off Diego Martin Main Road, yesterday, wept uncontrollably as she spoke of her husband's passing. She too said he refused to stop working.
"He was a very quiet person. He had a nice personality to everyone. He was also someone you could call a workaholic, but he was sick and in pain.
"No matter what, he did not want to leave his work. Fabian did not take holidays, he did not take days off. The person next door to the school (Reyes) would tell him to stay home but he wouldn't stay home," she cried.
Contacted for comment yesterday evening, MTS marketing manager Mike Hernandez said the company wanted to express its condolences to Shui Fang's family.
He said the company was still in the process of gathering more information on his death and as such was not willing to say anything further.
"Apart from extending our deepest condolences to his family, there is not much more that we can say until the reports are completed," he said.
An autopsy is expected to be performed on Shui Fang's body today at the Port of Spain General Hospital's mortuary. —See Page 7