An ambitious young Dominican College pupil is bidding to become the first non-national member from Northern Ireland in the UK Youth Parliament.
14-year-old Ramel Flores, who is in his fourth year at the Portstewart college, is running in the East Londonderry constituency.
Already cutting out a future political career for himself, Ramel lists his interests as peace and conflict resolution, law and mental health among the young.
He says: “My aspiration is to be part of a diverse transformation of Northern Ireland and the communication link between our transforming societies.
“I was born in the small country of Belize in the heart of Central America. Northern Ireland is my home and I am prepared to be part of the machinery that will move this nation to a new era.”
Ramel and his family moved to the north coast in 2005 and he is now preparing to do his GCSEs at Dominican.
He says he is a fan of the Italian politician and historian Niccolò Machiavelli and lists Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, the ancient Chinese military treatise, as one of his favourite reads.
Supported by his dad, Ramel has conducted his studious campaign through his Facebook page and Twitter as well as producing posters calling for votes.
Ramel’s political ethos is centred on breaking down barriers between nationals and non-nationals. He wants to see the development of “a diverse society where we no longer judge each other by the colour of our skin or spiritual beliefs but by our qualities.”
Away from his election efforts Ramel enjoys martial arts, jazz and gospel music and is also an active member of his church.
All young people aged 11-18 can vote online at www.mi-event.info/event/ukypniel2013 or check out Ramel’s manifesto on Facebook or Twitter.