Majorie Lambert has been getting calls from all over the world.
“People magazine and Rolling Stone called me,” she said.
“Are they a big deal?” she asked as we began to talk about her close relationship with British singer Amy Winehouse.
The Grammy-award winning Winehouse, 27, was found dead in her north London home on Saturday. In 2008 and 2009, Amy, who has had a long battle with drugs and alcohol, had enjoyed an extended vacation in St Lucia and was even featured at the May 2009 St Lucia Jazz Festival.
Lambert, the owner of a beach restaurant next to the Cotton Bay hotel where Amy stayed on her last trip says she never really saw Winehouse as a superstar.
“When she first started coming to my place on Cas en Bas beach I didn’t even know who she was,” Lambert said. “Someone later told me she was the big singer Amy Winehouse. She stayed at Cotton Bay but she always came here. After a while she started to call me ‘mumma.’ She seemed to fall in love with me and from then on we had been close. She would bring people over to my place, sometimes 20 people and buy lunch for all of them. Her friends and family always used to come with her. Amy’s heart was for everybody. Amy would come here and see children around and buy food for all of them. She would even buy food for the stray dogs that roamed the beach.”
Lambert—who the UK press have dubbed Amy’s ‘Caribbean mum’—says Winehouse’s kindness even extended to helping people with medical bills. She recalls that the singer donated $6000 to a man who needed an operation.
“She brought so much joy into people’s lives,” said Lambert, adding that it was hard for her to believe that Winehouse was dead. She recalled that the last time she had seen Amy was in November 2010 after the island was ravaged by Hurricane Tomas.
“She was on her way to Brazil but she stopped in St Lucia for one week,” said Lambert. “She said she came to see what happened to the island she loved and she came to see if I was okay.”
Lambert explained that she believes Amy Winehouse would have liked to live in St Lucia on a permanent basis.
“Oh, yes she wanted to stay here,” Lambert assured me. “When she had to go back to the UK to go to court for her divorce case she told me she was scared. She didn’t want to face it all. I remember the day she was leaving everyone was all packed and she told me she didn’t want to go. She wanted me to hide her somewhere. But she had to go. I brought her back to the hotel. She told me she would be back in St Lucia soon, but she did not make it . . . She was supposed to come back for a long time.”
Majorie says part of the reason Winehouse fell in love with this small island was because she was at peace here.
“She got love when she was here. Amy was so free in St Lucia. You know it’s like finding your family for the first time. This is the only way I can put it,” Lambert said. “When Amy was here she does not need bodyguards, but in England she is surrounded by people who are just trying to get old news about her. Being in England for her was like being in jail. In St Lucia, she was free, happy, kissing and hugging everyone. She was only 25 years old when I met her, but she was even more like a little child. She was like someone who wanted love. She would lie on my shoulder. I would talk to her and try to make her understand life. She loved the children on the beach and played with them, it made her feel good. I think she liked that I was strong and stern with her but also warm.”
As for her drug and alcohol woes Majorie says: “To be honest I have never seen Amy taking drugs, or seen anyone selling drugs for Amy. I will not say she was not drinking . . . but she used to listen to me. I used to tell her she is not drinking any alcohol; that she has to eat and she would listen to me and say, ‘Mumma you see I eat all your good food.’ Sometimes she even asked for more food. At times I would give her a Lucozade or Red Bull for her to get some energy. But no rum before she eats.”
Then the tough question: Do you think Amy Winehouse would have been alive today if she had stayed in St Lucia?
Lambert did not hesitate as she answered: “Most definitely she would have been alive. And her family will realize that too. When Amy left here the last time she was a different person. She looked so much better, healthier, she even began to pose for pictures. Before she used to run away from pictures. She was so comfortable here.”
Lambert is known in St Lucia for being very kind and has adopted children on the island in the past.
“I love people and I used to lay on my bed and wish that they would just leave Amy here with me,” she reflected. “Give her to me so I can make her take care of herself and take care of her. The reason why I loved Amy was because I saw her as a little child that needed help.”
Lambert says that she knows people will question her relationship with the famous singer who brought so much attention to her beach bar.
“I am a simple person,” she admitted. “Our relationship started because she began to love me and she told me that I made her understand life. I used to tell her that she is beautiful and that she should not listen to what people are saying. Amy came here to get better and be happy in St Lucia.”
Lambert admits she was not happy when Winehouse was approached to perform at the St Lucia Jazz Festival in 2009.
“This is the kind of thing Amy wanted to stay away from. They kept pushing and pushing. Amy needed a long break from that world to let her take care of herself. I think she was never given time to recover.”
Lambert suggested that there was no control over Amy’s drinking at her St Lucia Jazz performance hence why it went so badly. At the show Amy was seen drinking something dark from a glass while onstage.
Said Lambert: “Amy had the most expensive drinks available to her. So when you put it in front of her what you expect her to do? Drink it of course. It’s a sickness.”
But despite it all Lambert says she hopes that the singer is now at peace.
“She was a good hearted person,” said Lambert. “It’s when you die people appreciate you. When you are alive it’s only bad things you hear. I hope right now people think different about her. She was going to come down to help the children in need in St Lucia. I know she was going to . . .”
Meanwhile Saint Lucia’s Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation Senator Allen Chastanet released a statement on the death of Amy Winehouse. Chastanet had been at the forefront of getting Winehouse to perform at St Lucia Jazz. Read the statement: “We have lost a good friend and the world has lost a great talent.”
Recalling the popular singer’s generosity towards local residents, Minister Chastanet said, “We were fortunate to see another side of Amy, and will be forever grateful for the acts of kindness and compassion she extended to less fortunate Saint Lucians during her visits with us.”
Amy Winehouse’s funeral was held yesterday. The cause of her death is still unknown.
When you see a friend or loved one suffer painful drug withdrawal symptoms, always remember that the ones responsible for this are the people who sold them those dangerous drugs.