Dominica's Irwin LaRocque was among four CARICOM nationals who were conferred with the Order of the Caribbean Community (OCC), at the opening ceremony of the 43rd Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM, in Paramaribo, Suriname.

Ambassador Larocque is the former CARICOM Secretary-General.

The other three CARICOM nationals were Cricketer extraordinaire, Sir Vivian Richards, and Former Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados, Dame Billie Millerand Trinidadian artiste David Rudder.

After receiving his award, Rudder thanked CARICOM for the honour: "I'm deeply humbled. Thank you Caribbean Community," he said.

The Order of CARICOM award is given to "Caribbean nationals whose legacy in the economic, political, social and cultural metamorphoses of Caribbean society is phenomenal."

The OCC was first conferred in 1992. The first awardees were Dr. William Demas, former CARICOM Secretary-General; Sir Shridath Ramphal, former Chief Negotiator of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM), and former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chairman of the West Indian Commission, and former Chancellor of the University of the west Indies (UWI); and Mr. Derek Walcott, distinguished and internationally acclaimed poet and playwright, and 1992 Nobel Prize recipient for literature.

Over the years, the list has expanded to encompass a range of other persons including former Heads of Government, sports personalities, regional creatives, representatives of the legal fraternity, members of academia, economists, members of the medical profession.

The awardees received an 18-carat gold medallion with a specially designed ribbon to be worn around the neck.

The recipients also receive a smaller version of the insignia as a lapel pin, and a scroll detailing their outstanding achievements.

OCC recipients are bestowed the title 'Honourable', along with the suffix OCC following their names. In addition, they can work and acquire property in any Member State. OCC recipients, their spouses and children under the age of 18, also receive special travel documents designed to facilitate travel in the region.