|Posted on July 28, 2010 at 3:58 PM|
By Dionne Jarrette
There is no synagogue inTrinidad, and you can count the number of Jews here on one hand, but their influence, and the marks they have left behind, remind us that they once had a bigger presence here.
One of the foremost marks of the Jewish presence is the Magen David, or the six-point Star of David.
This symbol adorns the local Police jeeps, flag, hats and buttons on the blue and grey uniform. In its centre is the copper rumped Hummingbird.
The explanation as to how the star got there will take most historians back to the 1930s. During this time, we were still a British colony, and as such our Police Commissioners were sent here by Britain.
One of these men was Colonel Arthur Stephen Mavrogordato. Mavrogordato was stationed in Palestine in the Middle East, and he was transferred from there to the post of Commanding Officer of the Trinidad Constabulary. Mavrogordato was not himself Jewish, but he was believed to be the one who suggested the Magen David be used as the police emblem, a symbol he had known from the Palestine flag. He reversed the colours of the Palestinian flag; by this he put a white star on a blue background instead of a blue star on a white background. No one is sure why.
Some attribute the use of the Magen David to the fact that the 1930s was the time when it was becoming widely known and its shape was found to be fascinating. Others believed it was a talisman that brought good luck and this was why it was chosen.
The debate surrounding its origin was another reason for fascination, as scholars maintain that the star was not of Jewish origin, but taken from theTwi-San, a people of south, central and east Africa.The Twi-San dates back30,000 years before the Christian era, and they wereknown to traverse the banksof the River Nile. To them, the symbol was known asthe Pole Star.
The use of the Magen David as the policeemblem makes the Trinidad and Tobago Police Force unique in that it is the only police service in the world that does not use its country's Coat of Arms as its official symbol.
The star was originally encased in a wreath with a crown atop it, to signify that Trinidad was a British colony. WhenTrinidad became a republic in 1976,these symbols of the former monarchy were replaced with the Hummingbird at the emblem's centre and with the shield from the Coat of Arms at the top where the crown once sat.