On October 14, 2022, a conferment ceremony of the Japanese National Decoration, “The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star” upon His Excellency Irwin Joseph LaRocque, Ambassador and former Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held at the Fort Young Hotel, in Dominica.
The ceremony was attended by Their Excellencies Charles A. Savarin D.A.H., President of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Mrs. Savarine; the Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Commonwealth of Dominica; the Honorable Kenneth Darroux, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations; His Excellency MATSUBARA Yutaka, Ambassador of Japan to the Commonwealth of Dominica, along with many more specially invited guests, government officials and members of the media.
During the ceremony, Ambassador MATSUBARA emphasized that Ambassador LaRocque was honoured for his outstanding contributions to enhancing relations between Japan and Caribbean countries including the Commonwealth of Dominica.
Prime Minister Skerrit congratulated Ambassador LaRocque on being awarded the Order of the Rising Sun by the Government of Japan for his important contributions to Japan-CARICOM relations, and expressed his appreciation to Ambassador LaRocque for the various functions he has served, in particular as Secretary General of CARICOM, and for the significant contribution he has made not only to CARICOM-Japan relations, but also to the Caribbean region as a whole. He also conveyed his gratitude to Japan for its contribution to the development of Dominica and for the friendly bilateral relations which continue to this day.
In his remarks, Ambassador LaRocque said that CARICOM-Japan relations began in 1993, and in recent years, cooperation between the two sides has grown significantly, including through the first Japan-CARICOM Summit Meeting, as well as through other Japan-CARICOM meetings at various levels. He also emphasized the role played by the late Prime Minister of Japan, ABE Shinzo, who visited Trinidad and Tobago in 2014 to attend the Japan-CARICOM Summit Meeting, recognizing the vulnerability of small island states and cooperation towards sustainable development, which is one of the three pillars of Japan-CARICOM cooperation launched at that time. Ambassador LaRocque expressed his appreciation for Japan’s support in this area, including the emergency assistance to Caribbean countries such as Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, and the Bahamas for hurricane damage, as well as for other projects which support the CARICOM Secretariat in areas such as renewable energy and energy efficiency, and the supply of medical
resources to aid in the fight against the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic.
Established in 1875, the Orders of the Rising Sun was Japan’s first national decoration awarded by the Government of Japan. It features rays of sunlight radiating from the rising sun with an attachment that is fashioned in the shape of a paulownia flower and leaf. The Order of the Rising Sun is conferred on foreign Japanese nationals for their significant contributions to advancing relations between Japan and its partners.