Deputy Vermeulen calls out fellow politician for mispronouncing name

A DEPUTY has defended calling out a fellow politician for mispronouncing his name.

Deputy Simon Vermeulen. (31757030)
Deputy Simon Vermeulen. (31757030)

The incident happened in debate late on Friday afternoon, when Deputy Sasha Kazantseva-Miller was discussing the prospect of reducing the States' marketing, tourism and events budget. She gave way to Deputy Simon Vermeulen. Both politicians have sat on the Economic Development committee together for the last two years.

He then objected to how she had pronounced his name, before addressing her query.

‘It’s quite galling that Deputy Kazantseva-Miller can’t pronounce my name correctly,’ he said in the Assembly.

‘And you’ve just mispronounced it four or five times. It’s not hard. It’s Ver-meu [mew]-len. Pronounced Vermeulen.’

The audio of the exchange in the States chamber is available online and appears to show Deputy Kazantseva-Miller pronouncing the middle part of Deputy Vermeulen’s name as ‘moo’, rather than ‘mew’.

Deputy Vermeulen said yesterday that he had called the deputy out on the mispronunciation of his name as it had happened five times in quick succession and she was quite rude in her description of the tourism marketing budget. He added that his fellow deputy did not try to get his name right.

He accepted that he had mispronounced her name incorrectly in the past.

‘After the second time the Bailiff pointed that out to me and explained how to pronounce it correctly that was most helpful,’ he said.

‘He also said if I was struggling, I could use the word colleague instead – great advice.’

Deputy Kazantseva-Miller was born in Russia and speaks three languages fluently. She has lived in Guernsey for more than 10 years. Since she was elected in 2020, there have been numerous occasions where politicians have mispronounced her name.

‘I’ve been called Casanova and Kazakhstan in the Assembly,’ she wrote last year on her social media.

‘The Bailiff has kindly corrected one deputy but only once. I’ve lived and worked all over the world and never had issues with my name (not the most difficult of all) – it’s a shame it’s different in politics.’

Yesterday she said she would rather not comment on the latest matter.

‘We are in the middle of the most important debate of this Assembly and should be focused on finding a solution to move forward,’ she said.

‘I would prefer not to comment on these types of matters that should have no place in the Assembly and focus on the job at hand to find a viable package of measures.’

The Tax Review debate is set to continue at the February meeting.

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