Dimple Willabus Looks to Succeed Maisel in Canarsie Council Race

Candidate R. Dimple Willabus is running for District 46 City Council seat, currently held by term-limited Councilmember Alan Maisel (D-Bergen Beach, Canarsie, Flatlands, Georgetown, Gerritsen Beach, Marine Park, Mill Basin, Mill Island, Sheepshead Bay).

Willabus is a native to Guyana, South America. When she was 19-years-old, Willabus started hosting an innovative entertainment program called ‘Rhythm Nation,’ which grew to become the first pivotal R&B and Hip-Hop television show aired in her country. Willabus said it was a show that celebrated Caribbean culture and harmony in a turbulent nation.

After finding success Willabus negotiated with the producer of Rhythm Nation and bought the exclusive rights to the name and control of the show. By 2000, Willabus was elected Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in Guyana’s National Youth Parliament before she immigrated to the US in 2004 and fell in love with the diversity of Brooklyn. 

“My background has enabled me to interact with a vastly diverse group of people, from all over the world,” said Willabus.

City Council Candidate R. Dimple Willabus. Contributed Photo.

“Neighbors and friends, especially those like me, who are immigrants. What I’ve learned through the years is that there are many factors that inhibit our advancement. Specifically, ‘access.’  Access to appropriate resources in education, medical care, senior and youth services, food security and housing security has been a major factor in my running for City Council,” she added.

Willabus said people are frustrated with the status quo, machine politics that have limited communities and opportunities for those considered “second class citizens.” She believes that more investment in education, youth services, and small businesses are key to preparing people for the future.

“Those who know me best will tell you that one of the greatest motivators for me as a person is my desire to provide many arts, cultural and intellectual resources to our youth,” said Willabus. “We may have a young person who has an interest in videography and music, but doesn’t recognize the possibility of making that a career path. By engaging our children and promoting these opportunities, we develop them intellectually and emotionally. Furthermore, we keep our children safe, engaged and promote an environment of tolerance and partnership among them and their peers.”

Willabus said that the monumental impact of COVID on District 46 will leave businesses and opportunities closing.

“The city’s response to businesses and remote learning has been haphazard and negligible, to put it kindly,” said Willabus. She said that she’s not confident that the district will be put at the forefront of the access to vaccination, despite the significant population of front line workers, seniors and first responders. 

“Again, we are faced with the issues of equitable access to the resources needed for not only our community’s success, but that of our city,” said Willabus.

Willabus said that the city can create economic growth in small businesses by reviewing Small Business Services and M/WBE programs to include more small businesses that have to compete with corporations that are much larger. She also said the city needs more tax incentives to small businesses, especially those owned and operated by underserved communities.

Willabus said that with her experience with law enforcement, and civic and political unrest in Guyana and the US, she has extensive views on criminal justice and police reforms. 

“As the wife of an NYPD Lieutenant, who is also an immigrant, a youth sports coach in the community and an engaged citizen, I know first-hand the good work our law enforcement and many other civil servants commit to within the community,” said Willabus. “I know that there are many officers who are also from our community, who are immigrants or who come from traditionally underrepresented communities and who are advocating for change within their ranks because it will benefit the community.”

Willabus said that the police department firstly has too many responsibilities assigned to them and are often ill-prepared or ill-equipped to handle certain situations. She said she’s specifically concerned with the cops involvement in emergency calls related to mental health emergencies and those related to homelessness.  

“These are not criminal incidents and thus, must be treated like the medical emergencies that they are. I’m in favor of having a unit of organized mental health and social welfare professionals taking the lead in those incidents,” said Willabus.  

She said rather than growing the penal system she would be for more funding for preventative and restorative justice programs. She also supports the reallocation of funding sources, as long it’s known where the money will go and resources aren’t removed from the community.  

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