A 1982 loan from the Caribbean Development Bank was designed to stimulate and redirect agricultural production, support the tourist industry, and contribute to the creation of the infrastructure necessary for industrial development. Loans and government incentives have since focused on supporting the banana trade, improving infrastructure, and stimulating tourism.
A severe drought in 2001 and the effects of the downturn in the global economy and the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States adversely affected the economy. Construction in 2002 rebounded as public sector projects were implemented. Public sector debt rose to 72% of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2002, up from 67% in 2001. Reducing poverty remained a central priority of the government in 2003, as was reform of the tax system. The government was also taking steps to combat money laundering and the financing of terrorism.