Former chief says Westbank band members asked him to run again | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Former chief says Westbank band members asked him to run again

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September 06, 2016 - 4:30 PM


WESTBANK FIRST NATION - Just one term — that’s all former Chief Ron Derrickson wants — long enough to fix what he says current chief and council have screwed up.

He also promises to restore the once-significant annual payments made to band members from business profits and installing a business management team to watch over the band’s varied interests.

Derrickson released his platform for chief in a Facebook post, asking members to consider his past success as band chief and explaining why after multiple terms, legal batttles and lawsuits related to his time as chief, he would want to do it again.

“Some of you may be surprised I’m running for chief again. In a way, so am I... but many community members asked me to run because it is obvious we are going backward as a community. People have asked me to step up and try to get us moving forward again,” he says.

Derrickson, who is a successful businessman in his own right, took aim at Chief Robert Louie and the Lake Okanagan Wellness Centre.

“We see careless and wasteful use of band money,” Derrickson writes. “The greatest symbol of this is the financial disaster of the Okanagan private hospital that has cost this community members more than $8 million — that’s a debt of more than $12,000 a person.”

Derrickson says that’s not the only example of financial mismanagement he’s seen and vows to bring together an executive committee of experienced business people who will oversee operations and report directly to band membership.

Derrickson was elected chief six times beginning in the 1970s and claims to have dragged the band out of poverty by expanding its business interests.

In later years, he was the subject of several inquiries and a royal commission into what other band members alleged was shady business practices.

However, Derrickson was cleared of all allegations and won a large libel suit against his detractors, who included current Chief Louie.

Derrickson and Louie along with all other chief and council candidates will get their chance to speak to the membership at an all candidates meeting Thursday. The general election is September 15 when aproximately 550 band members are eligible to cast ballots.

To contact a reporter for this story, email John McDonald or call 250-808-0143 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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News from © iNFOnews, 2016

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